British Hindu Group Under Review for Endorsing Conservative Party

Aditi Khanna/London
British Hindu Group Under Review for Endorsing Conservative Party

A representative body of British Hindus is under review by the Charity Commission after it issued an open letter in support of Prime Minister David Cameron led Conservative party in the May 7 general election.

The National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT-UK), which claims to be the oldest umbrella organisation for an estimated 565,000 Hindus in Britain, had issued the letter encouraging Hindus in the country to vote as not voting would be "adharma, as Sri Krishna reminded Arjuna".

In the letter, Satish Sharma, general secretary of NCHT-UK, made a reference to the Labour party's attempts at introducing anti-caste legislation in Parliament as the defining factor behind the choice of whom to vote for.

He said both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have pledged that if elected they would immediately introduce legislation that would "effectively introduce a caste system here in the UK".

In the open letter on the group's website, he said, "This is NOT a recommendation for members of the dharmic communities to vote for a particular party, but it would be unfair not to recognise that the Conservative Party is the only principal party which has rejected the process whereby this legislation was forced through, and the Conservative Party is the only party which has consistently listened to us and voted against this legislation and whose members are committed to repealing the caste amendment if re-elected."

The letter claimed that the legislation, which is being debated as part of the UK's Equality Act in Parliament, was introduced without consultation.

The Charity Commission, which regulates the conduct of charitable groups in Britain, stressed that the regulator's guidance "makes clear that a charity must not give its support to any political party or candidate".

"We are aware of the notice posted on the National Council of Hindu Temples' website and will be contacting the charity to establish the facts of this matter as a matter of urgency.

"The commission will decide what action, if any, is required once the charity has responded," a spokesperson said.

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