IndiaFacts Investigation: The Many Faces of Mission India – Part I
FCRA stands for Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, 2010. It governs the flow of foreign funds to Indian Organizations –to both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). The annual fund flow into India via FCRA is around ₹ 11,500 Crore. Many donors are large evangelical charities (also called non-profits) located in the USA and Western Europe.
For an introduction to this topic and to study the fund flows to India over the last 17 years, head here.
Our earlier article on Gospel For Asia Inc, Texas (GFAI) exposed how GFAI, apart from sending money on its own name, also established 13 Limited Liability Companies in Texas and remits funds of around Rs. 270 Crore per annum to at least four of its subsidiaries in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala via FCRA. Of course, the standard academia, media and establishment discourse on this has so far been one of studied silence and wilful blindness lest GFAI and its Brother-in-alms1 (pun intended) cry Persecution.In this expose, we shall uncover a modus operandi which shares certain traits with GFAI but also has a lot of grey areas that makes it difficult to connect the dots.
The Evangelical organization is named Mission India.
Indeed, many of us may not even have heard of Mission India (MI), an Evangelical Organization located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On its website and on its twitter handle, it routinely portrays India in poor light and derides Hinduism and its SampradAyas. Its Founder, Dave Stravers gives interviews which create a sense of gloom about India in the US, a picture that is in stark contrast to the reality of crores of ebullient Indians looking forward to a resurgent India.
It is unfortunate that Mission India is not only able to raise money within the US but is also ranked as a “Top-rated Non-Profit” in Great NonProfits, an Organization that monitors Charity Organizations in the US. However, what Better Business Bureau, another review organization, says about Mission India is very educative.2
Mission India Fund Flows into India via FCRA
To fulfil its mission for the religious conversion of Indian people, Mission India raises money in the US and remits it to its Indian operatives in Telangana. As is the practice carried out by other foreign Organizations profiled on IndiaFacts—that is, Gospel For Asia, and Operation Mobilisation, MI sends this money via the FCRA route. Not only does Mission India send money under its own name, it also sends money via an Organization called Advancing India. Advancing India is an “Assumed Name” (that is, an equivalent name) of Mission India, as described in the Michigan State Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) database.
So how much money does Mission India send? The following table contains the details. Clicking on the name of MI’s Indian Organization, will open the FC6 return filed by it with the FCRA Wing, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
TABLE 1: Primary Indian NGOs receiving funds via FCRA from Mission India/Serve India/Advancing India, Michigan in 2011-2012.
Full address of these recipients and the complete list of Indian NGOs receiving funds from Mission India is available here.
|S.No.||Organization||Address||Amount( Rs. in Crores)|
|1||Seva Bharat||Ashirwad Global
AP – 500088
|2||Letha Charitable Trust||C/o DTK Hospitality Tours(P) Ltd, Ashirwad Global Learning Centre,
AP – 501301
- Remittances from Mission India to other Organizations in India via FCRA are available here.
- In the FC6 return, both India Partners Mission and Community Uplift have PO Box addresses in Michigan. However, neither of these entities figure in the Corporations Division Business Entity database of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Michigan. Therefore, receipts from them have been added to the total amount presented in the fourth column
- Although Seva Bharat is itself the biggest franchisee of Mission India, one can notice it reporting receipts (small amounts) from CNI Gujarat Diocese, Pioneer Ministries-Hubli etc. It is a reasonable guess that these are likely to be “settlement of accounts”, after the completion of Evangelical work. Intra-India FCRA fund flows have been discussed in detail here.
- The FC6 return shows Serve India at the same address: P.O. Box 141312, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thus, all remittances shown in any FC6 return as originating from Serve India can be safely assumed to have been originated from Mission India, Michigan.
Therefore, the total remittance from Mission India via FCRA (see here) was ₹ 30.87 Crore in 2011-2012. Out of this, Rs. 26.5 crore was remitted to Seva Bharat (SB) and Letha Charitable Trust (LCT). What is interesting is that both these NGOs are located on the same physical premises, namely, DTK Hospitality & Tours Pvt. Ltd., Ashirwad Global Learning Centre, Ranga Reddy District, Andhra Pradesh (currently Telangana). The following graph and text explains the funding that SB and LCT have been receiving each year.
Who owns Seva Bharat and Letha Charitable Trust?
Seva Bharat and Letha Charitable Trust are Indian NGOs. Despite receiving more than ₹ 27 Crore annually from Michigan, they have no websites, which is the norm for a huge majority of FCRA-NGOs.
The only way to understand how they operate is through the annual FC6 returns they file under FCRA. We have no idea as to who owns or runs them.
However, we can piece some information available in the public domain to identify individuals 3-10 who are associated (and are likely to be running) these two Organizations. These are: Rev. Dr. J. Chiranjeevi alias Chirie and Dr. Kamala Chiranjeevi. In fact, in a recent annual event of an evangelical TV channel held in Hyderabad (Telangana’s Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister were to attend), Rev. Dr. J. Chiranjeevi was introduced as the General Director of Seva Bharat and he appeared on the dais to a rousing reception11.
Activities of Seva Bharat & Letha Charitable Trust
We do not have much information on what Seva Bharat and Letha Charitable Trust actually do. However, because Mission India-Michigan is their exclusive donor, we can assume that SB and LCT carry out tasks which Mission India proclaims on its website.
They (i) educate Children who, in turn, “share” the Good News at home (ii) provide literacy to adults through Bible-based lessons and (iii) train Indians on how to plant churches and provide material support for the same. On the last item, it may be instructive to read the requirements of an Indian NGO to gain the financial support—that is, become a franchisee of Mission India here. A blog report of Ms. Anne Marro from Atlanta says the requirements to be: (a) must be married (b) should baptise 200 people in a year (c) should “visit” 600 families in a year. Ms. Marro and a group of 19 other Americans were shown around the work of Mission India in India during January-February, 2013.
Note: In case Ms. Marro’s blog entry is taken down at a later date, IndiaFacts has saved a copy of her original report.
One photograph exists about Seva Bharat’s work in Khandamal, Odisha, which is reproduced below.
Dr. Kamala Chiranjeevi also goes on lecture tours to the US and speaks about the plight of women in India here (where she is listed as the Director of a Ministry of Mission India) and here12. Such tours are further used as “facts”, towards the generation of newer atrocity literature on Hinduism and/or India which ensures continuity of funds.
The Company Connection
A question may arise if we closely study Table 1 above. Seva Bharat and Letha Charitable Trust, despite receiving several tens of crores of Rupees each year, are located within the premises of a Hospitality Company, which appears rather bizarre.We will unravel this mystery in Part-II of this IndiaFacts expose.
Mission India from Michigan pumps in several crores of Rupees to Indian NGOs each year for the express purpose of converting people to the Christian denomination it believes in. Specifically, it remits funds to two NGOs near Secunderabad—Seva Bharat and Letha Charitable Trust which are run by Rev. Dr. J. Chiranjeevi and Dr. Kamala Chiranjeevi.
- Better Business Bureau mentions that Mission India does not meet its standards on Website Disclosures (which will require MI putting out its IRS Tax Returns 990 on its website). In response, MI claims that it does not do so due to the possibility of “such information becoming available to groups who look to halt the spread of Christianity in India”
- http://roiindia.org/newsupdates.html (Search for Chiranjeevi)
- http://www.imaindia.org/magazines/indianmissions/july-sept04.pdf (Newsletter of Indian Missions, July-September 2004)
- http://www.christiansocialforum.com/html/csfboard.html (Advisory Board of Christian Social Forum)
- http://www.imaindia.org/heart_to_heart/h2h.htm (Indian Missions Associations Endorsements showing Dr. Chiranjeevi & Dr. Kamala Chirie to be Directors of LCT and SB)
- http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:pD4ou4YV-zoJ:esewa.epfoservices.in/ecr_dashboard/estt_wise_member_missing_detail.php%3FpageNum_Recordset1%3D39%26totalRows_Recordset1%3D10542%26office_name%3DHYDERABAD+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in&client=ubuntu Google Cache of Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, showing Dr. Kamala Chiranjeevi as Contact Person for Letha Charitable Trust (Establishment ID: APHYD0042846000)
- http://www.imaindia.org/indiabridge/Aug%2709.htm Partnership in Mission Excellence award given to Letha Charitable Trust received by Dr. Mrs. Kamala Chiranjeevi.
- http://www.hitha.org/index/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84&Itemid=65 (Board of Directors of Hyderabad Institute of Theology and Apologetics mentioning Dr. Kamala Chiranjeevi as Director of Seva Bharat).
- Thanks to @trackevangelism for providing this source.
- Newsletter of Christ Lutheran Church and School-Pacific SouthWest District, USA. The page says and I quote “Her (Dr. Kamala’s) main focus is on training, so (that) indigenous leadership can be developed on a massive scale. Kamala and her husband, Chirie, have a daughter, Joy Letha.”