♦RCFI is under lens for using donations for building mosques
♦Has no unit in Punjab, funded construction of 3 mosques in Faridkot
♦Funds were diverted via two of Baramulla, who paid bills
♦Mosques located within 40-70 km from the Pakistan border
Chandigarh: A Kerala-based NGO, Relief and Charitable Foundation of India (RCFI-Markazul Ighasathil Khairiyathil Hindiyya), which has no unit in Punjab, has caught the eye of the security agencies over its “curious” funding of the construction of three mosques in Faridkot district, The Tribune reported. RCFI has its HQ at the Markaz Complex, M G Road, Kozhikode.
The funds, received from persons or organisations abroad, were diverted through two residents of Baramulla in Kashmir, who reportedly supervised the construction and paid the bills. These mosques, built between 2015 and 2017, are located within 40-70 km from the Pakistan border.
A report by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs states that the RCFI diverted international funds worth Rs 70 crore for the construction of mosques. The MHA had stopped funding in August 2021. The Punjab Police and other security agencies had also red-flagged the matter.
There are more than 200 mosques in the border districts of Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Pathankot. Many of these were built recently. Their location close to the border is also the subject of investigation. One of RCFI’s spokespersons, who identified himself as Salaam Ustaad confirmed to The Tribune that the organization had no unit in Punjab. He claimed a detailed reply to the allegations had already been sent to the MHA. He insisted the RCFI indulged in social work which was suffering due to the “arbitrary ban” on international funding imposed by the Union Government.
The RCFI website says it is a certified non-denominational organization founded in 2000, with the mission to uplift the socio-cultural aspects of backward sections at the grassroots level.
It does not mention the construction of mosques as its mandate. It claims, “The genesis of the RCFI is to improve the quality of life for the most marginalized communities. The organization has directly reached almost 2.35 million people in 24 states with the support of national and international funding agencies and individual private donors. It works in diverse fields from water and sanitation to health, sustainable measures to support livelihood and disaster risk reduction and response, cultural restoration to school improvement, and family food security to individual special care programme.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs last year cancelled the FCRA license of thousands of NGOs registered under the Act. The organizations are awaiting the decision from the government on the renewal of their permissions to receive foreign funds, but are likely to be denied permissions until the scrutiny is cleared. The RCFI claims to have sent a detailed reply to the objections raised by the MHA. The organization says that it is indulged in social work and is suffering due to the ban on international funding imposed by the government.
The Kerala-based NGO claims to have directly reached around 2.35 million people in 24 states with the support of national and international funding agencies and individual private donors. It works in diverse fields from water and sanitation to health and works to improve the quality of life of the marginalized community. However, the security agencies have opined that the organization has used the donation funds to construct mosques in the Faridkot district.