Hindu Council UK Reverting to Original Website

FAO: Hindu temples & Organisations and other HCUK stake-holders

Hindu Council UK is reverting to the original website due to an internal dispute as explained in the Accounts published at the Charity’s Commission for the year ended 31 March 2023:

[A1: Accounts 2023]

The dispute is between Umesh Sharma JP and Rajnish Kashyap who has been the Chair and General Secretary since 2011/2012 respectively, whereas the maximum terms allowed are two, each of three years. There was a reset from an earlier dispute perpetrated also by Rajnish Kashyap which he lost and was ordered to discard his offshoot website hinducounciluk.net in 2016. Now under this new dispute Rajnish is operating the HCUK under hinducounciluk.org.uk. Hence this letter to make everyone aware that we the older five trustees are reverting to the original website hinducounciluk.org.

Umesh Sharma and Rajnish Kashyap are supported by one other Trustee Mahanta Shrestha. In our camp are the other five trustees Anil Bhanot, Mrs Krishna Bhan, Chris Gopaul, Dipen Rajyaguru and Moorthyji.

The present dispute is more complicated as Umesh Sharma JP and Rajnish Kashyap have said that they do not respect the HCUK Charter which is part of the HCUK Constitution legally. Basically, Umesh Sharma and Rajnish Kashyap have refused to rotate their central positions to allow new trustees to take up their roles. HCUK being a national body only allows a maximum of two three-year terms so that there is always an upward movement to allow other Hindus to take up these top positions.

The Charter as part of the Constitution has these two clauses:

  1. The Chair and General Secretary can only serve a maximum of two terms of three years.
    (HCUK being a national umbrella body for Govt and Interfaith representation other Hindu representatives should be given the opportunity in these leading up-front positions, where these positions receive invitations from all Govt depts, St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, Jewish BoD commemorations, Buckingham Palace events, Lambeth Palace, Lord Mayor of City of London, and of course London Mayor City Hall and many other institutions of UK.]
  2. Only two representatives from each temple and any Hindu organization are allowed to be members of HCUK

Rajnish Kashyap has the password for the Charity Commission which he has refused to share with any of the other trustees. The Independent Examiner of Accounts has the password for the Companies House, but he has no problem sharing it with nominated directors. Not only that Rajnish Kashyap has registered his personal Hotmail email ID with the Charity Commission and not the HCUK’s general secretary email ID.

In April 2023 Anil Bhanot the Managing Trustee asked for an AGM which was already delayed so that elections could reinstate the central positions.

A pre-AGM meeting was held in May 2023 for the trustees, but Rajnish invited his fellow colleague who were not trustees but Umeshji and Rajnish’s colleagues from Ram Mandir Southall. They disrupted the meeting so that there was no business concluded and a new pre-AGM date was postponed to June, for the directors/trustees only. Rajnish had misled the directors/trustees for the May meeting in texts that only the directors are invited – he had used the bcc to invite his colleague to that meeting – whilst in texts confirmed to other directors that he has not invited anyone else in his bcc email. Proof of this deceit was provided but Rajnish seemed to be set in his agenda not to follow precedented HCUK rules of setting AGM’s. Primarily because he knew he has to vacate his position to allow another Hindu to become the general secretary.

Incidentally, Anil Bhanot’s Managing Trustee position Rajnish Kashyap targeted in his earlier dispute from 2011 to 2016 by claiming that Anil Bhanot was never appointed a Managing Director/Trustee. He then created a discord between Anil and Dr Rao of Bala ji temple, who were both very close hitherto, by launching an offshoot website hinducounciluk.net and uploading nasty letters on his website to say Anil was never appointed a managing trustee, thus holding him out to be a liar. Anil Bhanot suffered this indignation for several years from 2011 to 2016 until he engaged Dac Beacroft lawyers to ask Rajnish/Dr Rao to remove their defamatory material from their website. Dac Beachcroft proved to them that Anil Bhanot was legitimately elected and appointed as Managing Director/Trustee in 2006. Not only that, the lawyers proved to them that Anil Bhanot was also one of the founding members of HCUK in 1994. Anil Bhanot was also the General Secretary of HCUK from 2003 to 2009 who after serving his two terms in this important central role he stepped down but remained as a managing trustee to oversee the correct functioning of HCUK from this back-office role. This irked them and they sought to remove him by defaming him, but they lost in 2016.

After this dispute Rajnish Kashyap’s offshoot website, hinducounciluk.net, was dissolved and he became the general secretary of our original HCUK as after apologies we all trusted he would be fine, with Umesh Sharma JP as the Chair, and prior to this unification Umesh Sharma was also the Chair of our original HCUK. This reconciliation was seen as the best way to proceed in 2016.

However, after two terms since 2016, they have both refused to rotate their positions to allow other candidates an opportunity. It seems they get used to receiving state invitations and thye don’t want to give others a chance.

Indeed, when Anil Bhanot was general secretary he used to give others the opportunity to go to various state type events also but since 2016 only the Chair and the General Secretary share those state invitations. In fact, sometimes they block other trustees altogether as for Diwali events by Government and Lord Mayor of the City of London. This is not right.

Anyway, another pre-AGM directors/trustees meeting was held on 11 June 2023 which resolved to propose Mrs Krishna Bhan to be the new Chair and the AGM to be held at a neutral venue but not at the Ram Mandir because of the disruptive elements experienced in the May meeting. This AGM meeting was set for 30 July 2023.

However, Umesh Sharma – a JP – decided later that he will not observe our procedure of this pre-AGM and he decided to call his own AGM on 8 July 2023. Once again, they – three directors/trustees: Umeshji, Mahantaji, and Rajnish – invited their colleagues to this meeting, who had disrupted the May meeting in the first place.

Our five directors/trustees – Anilji, Krishnaji,Chrisji, Dipenji, Moorthyji – objected to their AGM of 8 July as illegitimate and asked them to follow the rules set in the pre-AGM meeting of 11 June but they stopped responding to us.

In their 8 July AGM they appointed a lawyer Himanshu Sharma – a complete unknown to us for community work – straight as a trustee, and two more trustees from Ram Mandir Southall Balmukund Joshi and Gulu Anand. Rajnish appointed his colleague Kirit Mistry who under Rajnish’s authority has drawn a large sum of £5,500 for work done on Covid awareness amounting max to £500 – they could not give any supporting documentation of work done to the Independent Examiner as per Accounts 2023 attached. Umesh Sharma JP consolidated his power at Ram Mandir to remain as Chair in effect, forever, as he had become at Ram Mandir after dismissing his brother-in-law from their early years there around the millennium. Setting that aside, Umeshji doesn’t understand the difference between a local and an established national organisation.

Rajnish Kashyap who holds the password to the Charity Commission register changed the records immediately to add those four names as trustees:

However, these additional four names are rejected by the other five Directors/Trustees and therefore do not appear on the Companies House Register because of the dispute as disclosed in the Accounts attached, which incidentally were uploaded to the Charity Commission Register by Rajnish Kashyap himself.

Umesh Sharma JP has therefore appointed six of his Ram Mandir Southall fellow trustees/executives onto the Board of HCUK, whilst the Charter only allows two representatives from each temple – Umeshji, Mahantaji., Joshiji, Guluji and Arunji plus Chrisji although Umeshji seems to have now removed him from Ram Mandir’s Hindu Temple Trust as Chrisji is on our side. This consolidation of power is a clear violation of the HCUK umbrella body Constitution and rules and practices.

The five directors/trustees held their AGM on 30 July 2023. Mrs Krishna Bhan was elected as Chair in line with the agenda agreed in the pre-AGM meeting of June. Anil Bhanot remains managing trustee, Chris Gopaul remains treasurer, Dipen Rajyaguru and Mr Moorthy remain in their positions and also the other three trustees Umesh Sharma, Rajnish Kashyap and Mahanta Shrestha.

Neither AGM notices went on the website as the new website was controlled by Rajnish. Now, however, we have the original website activated so communications will be different and at par with the whole community. Since Covid Umesh Sharma and Rajnish Kashyap had blocked new people to join as members, many names were passed onto them but they would not follow them up, in fact one HCUK executive asked Umesh Sharma to allow more young people in and he literally threw our HCUK Executive out of Ram Mandir where that meeting had taken place.

Reconciliation attempt:

We tried to reconcile with them and Chris Gopaul from our group of the five directors arranged a meeting with Umesh Sharma and Anil Bhanot on 1 December 2023, and the minutes of that meeting approved by Umesh Sharma through email are attached for your information:

[B1: File Note of our Attempted Reconciliation Meeting of 1 December 2023]

Umesh Sharma, although agreed to step down in this meeting face to face, he wrote back to then preferring the legal route and so he did not step down. Since Umesh Sharma and Mahanta Shrestha had appointed their lawyer Himanshu Sharma in their AGM we suspect it was precisely for this reason.

So Umesh Sharma did not honour the reconciliatory agreements he made in that meeting.

Legal Correspondence:

Our solicitors Mills Chody wrote to Umesh Sharma’s lawyer Himanshu Sharma’s firm MB Law Ltd in which Mr Mahouzi Sina acted as the solicitor against us.

Mills Chody’s correspondence is mainly about their unlawful AGM and Umesh Sharma’s breach of fiduciary duties as a director/trustee.

However, MB Law correspondence never responded to the illegalities queried by our lawyers but went onto attack Anil Bhanot for his ‘reply-tweets’ of the autumn/winter of 2021 where he was replying to tweets from the subcontinent about the Islamists mobs going from village to village killing innocent Hindus and destroying their temples in the autumn of 2021, and in winter, following a Tamil Hindu child Lavanya committing suicide under pressure from Indian Christians proselytism.

The BBC didn’t even report those incidents – in spite of a large Hindu demonstration at the BBC offices for Hindu Lives Matter; clearly BBC’s diversity policy is flawed and has become non-inclusive to all faiths due to their editorial staff mix, in spite of the BBC being a great British public  institution it needs to work on its diversity and inclusion policy – and so Anil felt he had to speak against what he thought was an injustice against poor vulnerable Hindus. Our HCUK general secretary Rajnish hardly ever got involved with contentious matters but Anil feeling an injustice and empathy for the innocent deaths started debating on these constant attacks on Hindus for blasphemy charges where people take the law into their own hands and start killing Hindus and Christians. Further, the Indian Christians convert coercively vulnerable Hindus which is wrong but always his ‘reply-tweets’ in debates from the subcontinent only called for dialogue and legislative measures to protect innocent Hindus.

In late February 2022 a Muslim individual of Bangladeshi heritage from the Five Pillars of Islam organization picked up Anil’s tweets as Anil used to hastag #Bangladesh sometimes. He exposed these tweets in an out of context manner. Suddenly there were thousands of Muslims trolling Anil, which he tried to engage with first, but on Kaffir some Muslims thought it was a given to kill them indiscriminately. Anil also tried to argue that the word Kaffir is from the Sanskrit word Kaayer which in English is Coward but to no avail. Some Muslims were sympathetic but most just trolled one after another, without any reasoning.

On 26 February 2022 HCUK had an emergency directors/trustees meeting to discuss the issue of Anil’s ‘reply-tweets’. Umesh Sharma directed that Anil should resign, without giving Anil a chance to even cite his defense. This is a JP chairing the meeting. His co-trustee Mahanta Shrestha responded ‘yes, Chairman take this action’. Other directors/trustees were not convinced. Anil presented his defense, the reasons behind his tweet-debates on twitter re Bangladesh violence and forced conversion. The directors/trustees then resolved that Anil should not resign but only not do any HCUK work until the dust settles from social media trolls a unanimous resolution was passed for me not to resign. In fact, Anil himself suggested he will take a break from HCUK activities for six months, even though other directors thought three months would be enough, but they did not want me to leave HCUK. Yet Rajnish went ahead on Monday 28 February 2022 and removed Anil from Charity Commission as a trustee. This is how they work, no respect for other directors/trustees’ resolutions. Anyway, as it turned out, Anil was reinstated by a unanimous decision of a directors/trustees meeting on 4 September 2022.

However, Umesh Sharma and Rajnish Kashyap had seen this unfortunate tweet episode as an opportunity to get rid of Anil Bhanot from HCUK. They condemned him outright on HCUK twitter handle, without allowing for his defense or cite his reasons behind his debate-tweets. Thus, the twitter trolls got worse as they saw Anil’s tweets without any good reason. Anil begged Rajnish and Umesh Sharma on 25 February 2022 to tweet his defense, his reasons of speaking against indiscriminate Hindu killings, but they both refused. This is how Umesh Sharma and Rajnish Kashyap inflamed the twitter trolls attack on Anil inciting religious hatred against him from the unsuspecting Muslim public.

Only Rajnish had the password for Hindu Council UK twitter handle so none of the other directors could help, though they sympathized with Anil’s family. Both of them were very cruel as their condemnation tweets on me increased the twitter troll’s activity and threats against Anil who had to leave home and go to India to escape the threats. As it turned out the social media trolling lasted 3 weeks to mid-March when some Muslims started saying, ‘leave Uncle alone…’he was only defending his fellow Hindus…and we do come from Hinduism, …while still the odd one saying its good that their ancestors killed ancient religions Zoroastrians and Jews to make way for their perfect religion …etc. etc. Anil had learnt his lesson about social media not to ever get involved in debates.

Later it came to Anil’s notice that some Islamists had manipulated his tweets, for instance Anil’s tweet was on Proselytisation and Dawah in the context of the helpless child Lavanya committing suicide he wrote that this coercive forced conversion is evil. But they turned it into ‘Islam is evil’ – which Anil could never say, as he inherently believes in the spirituality at the core of all religions.

In response to forced conversions Anil had said for instance that Hinduism is the father of religion; it was to show our unity on faith at a spiritual level among all faiths, not any superiority at all, but to make words like Kaffir redundant. The father of religion remark is meant also  historically to show Hindu and Zoroastrian religions, even Yazidi religion as sister religions and for the Abrahamic link the word Jehova to him can be seen as from Yahweh word in Rig Veda the oldest scripture certified by UNESCO. It ought to be noted, however, that some of Anil’s tweet-debates came to pass as visionary as we saw extreme levels of religious violence in 2022 in India with the SarTanSayJuda the Islamists Beheading gangs beheading really poor innocent Hindus for their own drummed up charges of Islamophobia, and if I ma say so even in UK the impact of the false narrative from BBC and especially the Guadian against Hindus here onto the most diverse multicultural city Leicester in the autumn of 2022. After the 7/7 bombing in UK Anil had asked for a debate on the word Kaffir (as Kaayer) at the Faith Communities Consultative Council at DCLG, precisely to have a policy lead for inter faith respect among religions but the debate was never called for.

MB Law added in their correspondence said that Anil has even spoken ill of Christians, citing his reply to a tweet in 2020 about an Indian pastor coercively converting Hindus – well that is exactly what Anil is against, coercive forced conversion. Equally Anil defends Christians being persecuted in the subcontinent but he is against their coercive conversion’s methods, which once again his tweet was visionary as it led to a child’s death in 2021. Anil spoke against the evils and falsehoods in society, never against any religion, per se.

MB Law and Umesh Sharma said that the individual from the Five Pillars also complained against Anil to his Institute of Chartered Accountants and that somehow was proof enough to dismiss him from HCUK. What baffles us is Umesh Sharma’s logic, a JP. Anyhow, Anil’s Institute investigated the complaint thoroughly and rejected it, with their concluding remarks:

“The Committee concluded that there is insufficient evidence that, in posting the tweets, Mr Bhanot was likely to bring discredit on himself, ICAEW or the profession of accountancy and so found there was no case for him to answer. In reaching its decision, the Committee bore in mind Mr Bhanot’s rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998. It also took into account the relevant regulatory case law in this area particularly Holbrook v BSB [25 March 2022] and BSB vToch [March 2022]. Our file has now been closed.”

The ICAEW verdict came in time for Anil to celebrate the 2022 Christmas freely.

MB Law wrote at length about Umesh Sharma reporting Anil to the police, giving a crime reference, though nothing came of it as Anil only called for dialogue and legislative measures. In his 8 July AGM Umesh Sharma also defamed Anil for his tweets boasting to the general community at Ram Mandir about reporting Anil to the police. There is a deeper issue here, a pattern of Umesh Sharma whenever he is challenged he threatens the challenger with police action, because of his contacts in Police as a JP.

In June 2023 when he was challenged on how he dismissed a Ram Mandir lady trustee of 40 years’ service through his ill-votebank procedures at ram mandir Southall. She had left in tears as she felt being thrown out of Ram Mandir for no good reason. She had only lent a shoulder to cry on to another lady at the temple under Umesh Sharma – a JP – who had voluntarily left to escape him, but he got rid of this poor old lady trustee too, and only because he found out that she had heard another lady’s plea, and she knew about the issue. This lady now a former Trustee of Ram Mandir spoke to Anil , again in tears, and naturally Anil revealed it all to the HCUK board as that would be the first and right thing to do. Then Umesh Sharma did not deny it but instead wrote back to report Anil to the police. MB law correspondence then accused Anil of bullying Umesh Sharma by those revelations from the lady trustee which led Umeshji to report Anil to the police. Amazing logic!

Mediation:

A meeting was held at the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) which Anil Bhanot paid for but where Umesh Sharma JP did not budge an inch from his position. He had brought all his Ram Mandir Southall Executives there and Himanshu Sharma his lawyer and their solicitor Mr Mahouzi Sina.

The mediation lasted the full day but there was no movement on their part to allow changes in the central positions of Chair and General Secretary.

Other Relevant Matters

Umesh Sharma’s co-trustee at Ram Mandir Arun Thakur is the President of the other sister organization, the National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT), and Jay Sharma related to Umesh Sharma as the now secretary of NCHT also came as observers. NCHT is also under Ram Mandir Southall control and it is effectively dormant now – even in the Leicester riots of 2022 the Shivalaya temple that was desecrated they did nothing to enter into a dialogue at all. Anil Bhanot had spoken to his colleague Imam Mogra who assured him that the Muslim Council of Britian (MCB) was discomforted by the incident, and in spite of Anil’s efforts Umesh Sharma and Arun Thakur did not pursue it further with MCB to enter into dialogue under NCHT, nor Rajnish and Umesh Sharma for that matter under HCUK.

Incidentally, Umesh Sharma and Arun Thakur rebuked Anil Bhanot in an HCUK meeting in 2023 for having signed a joint-statement with Lord Indarjit Singh on the grooming gangs affecting our young girls – so they won’t do any useful work themselves nor let others do it.

On another note, Anil had also founded a Council of Dharmic Faith (CoDF) with Dr Natubhai Shah for precisely the reason to bring a better understanding between all faiths – as the Three Faiths Forum do – but here again Rajnish displaced Anil in 2015 by bringing his colleagues to outvote Anil. Since 2015 the CoDF effectively died. Rajnish accumulates positions without having the capability to do ecumenical interfaith work. CoDF was Anil’s vision to unite all Indic faiths and already he had Zoroastrian Executive on it, he was in the midst to invite the Bahais, Dr Shah had started talking to the Three Faiths Forum…..ultimately we would have brought a better understanding among all faiths. If it weren’t for such power hungry people like Rajnish and Umesh Sharma!

Next Steps

Reverting to the HCUK issue at hand, our lawyers are now writing to the Charity Commission, and we the undersigned trustees have had to take this action to revert to our original website www.hinducounciluk.org

Finally, for the Government, Anil Bhanot and Dipen Rajyaguru would like to add here that we at our part of our HCUK do not believe Islamophobia or Hinduphobia are workable definitions in legislation and our proposal is to define antiMuslim/Islam hatred and HinduMisia for legislative purposes. We can help with the definition of HinduMisia for legislative purposes, should the need arise. Islamophobia and Hinduphobia are good generic terms to help people keep on their toes, but we do not believe they are legislative terms at all.

For our Temples, Anil Bhanot would like to add that he defines our Hindu Dharma to comprise of three main components, in addition to its ten principles and in an ocean of other doctrines, but at its core, in simple terms, he believes through our vast scriptural reference that Dharma is simply about: Justice, Compassion, Charity.

We are writing to you to help us rebuild HCUK again to advance those Vedic tenets and would like you to think about nominating two representatives from your temple who can help HCUK, please. We will write to you again to have a community wide meeting so as to clarify any issues herein this rather long protracted article but more importantly discuss the wider Hindu issues representing the British Hindus.

Thank you

Anil Bhanot, Mrs Krishna Bhan, Chris Gopaul, Dipen Rajyaguru

[Mr Moorthyji is not well but Mr M P Nathan, his colleague and general secretary of the Shaiva Federation of Tamil Temples is in agreement of the above – Mr Nathan too tried to explain to Umesh Sharma that their Shaiva Federation also only takes two representatives from each temple]

Enclosures:

[A1] 2023 Accounts

[B1] Minutes of a meeting to reconcile but agreements therein not honoured by Umeshji