US-based 'charity' linked to Pak exploited India's COVID-19 crisis, claims report

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jun 16, 2021, 06:08 PM(IST)

COVID-19 charity scam (Photo Courtesy: DisInfo Lab) Photograph:( Others )

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A report on thedisinfolab.org website alleged that people who had donated funds to such organisations during the COVID-19 crisis would be shocked as it was likely to have been used for "fomenting protests and social disturbances" including "terror attacks"

A US-based "charity" organisation linked to Pakistan had collected funds to help India during the coronavirus crisis, but after collecting millions of dollars, it sent "peanuts in name of help", a report has claimed.

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The website thedisinfolab.org claimed that the money could be diverted from terror finance into the hands of the Pakistan army, Islamists and Hamas.

The Helping India Breath campaign allegedly "stole" money in the name of helping India as the second coronavirus wave swept the country, it said in the report

The report alleged that people who had donated funds to such organisations during the COVID-19 crisis would have been shocked as it was likely to have been used for "fomenting protests and social disturbances" including "terror attacks".

The report said one of the aggressive fund collection organisations was 'IMANA', which was running a campaign on Instagram". However when it came to transparency, it would allegedly raise the "Islamophobia" issue.

The website said that hundreds of fund collection campaigns were reportedly going on in India to help COVID-19 victims with several platforms being used from social media to "dedicated fund-raising platforms".

IMANA’s website reportedly went down on April 29 after the donation drive was launched on April 27 "likely due to heavy traffic".

IMANA was collecting funds directly through its website, and managed to raise Rs 8.77 crores from Instagram through #HelpIndiaBreathe campaign, which was followed by $298,919 being raised by the Just Giving platform.

IMANA started receiving donations at a speed of $100K per hour after reaching $100K on the second day, Disinfolab said.

According to Disinfolab, "a rough calculation of the overall amount could be anywhere between $4.12 million to $21 million", which is approximately Rs30 crores to Rs 158 crores.

The aid campaign was reportedly launched the day after US President Joe Biden called on to help India with the fund collection drive targeting the countries where India had sent vaccine and other essential medicines during the coronavirus crisis since last year.

It was a planned operation to exploit the tragedy as an opportunity and this was not the first time such "heist" was taking place but one of the biggest till date, Disinfolab claimed in the report.

Thedisninfolab.org describes itself as a "legal entity with the motive of unveiling fake news and propaganda that intend to create turmoil." 

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