Amidst the second wave of the pandemic, a temporary Coronavirus treatment facility set up by Hemkunt Foundation in Sector 61 of Gurugram in Haryana was removed over allegations of turning it into a warehouse and giving ration to farmer protestors. The land belongs to an unnamed Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader.
As per reports, the land was leased to the controversial NGO for a period of two months after the Community development director of Hemkunt Foundation, Harteerath Singh, had asked for a 20,000 sq. ft land to set up a Covid-19 centre. However, the NGO soon repurposed the centre to serve as a warehouse to supply ration to the camps of farmer protestors.
While speaking on the development, tent house operator Jagat Singh informed, “We gave this land to the foundation for a makeshift Covid centre for just two months. There was no patient in it for many days owing to a dip in the number of cases and the landowner asked them to vacate the land. Some of the volunteers of the foundation told him that they are distributing ration kit in farmers protest and we can’t let them use the land a warehouse. We informed the foundation four days ago but they have not vacated yet.”
Hemkunt Foundation claims ‘goons’ destroyed their Coronavirus treatment facility
In a statement, the NGO alleged, “We need your help! Our O2 Centre at Gurgaon was destroyed forcefully today and our belongings were damaged.To continue helping everyone in need, we need access to 20,000 sq. ft. land at or near the City Centre of Gurgaon. Please help us spread the word.”
🆘🚨We need your help!— Hemkunt Foundation (@Hemkunt_Fdn) June 3, 2021
Our O2 Centre at Gurgaon was destroyed forcefully today and our belongings were damanged.
To continue helping everyone in need, we need access to 20,000 sq. ft. land at or near the City Centre of Gurgaon.
Please help us spread the word#COVID19India pic.twitter.com/EJBd0ZDxTK
Hemkunt Foundation has claimed that a group of men ambushed the centre and destroyed it for exceeding the two-month lease period. It has also allegedly paid ₹3.5 lacs as maintenance. Following the incident, a team of police headed by SDM (Badshahpur) Satish Yadav went to the spot to defuse the situation. Although no police complaint was filed, SDM Yadav said, “We are talking with foundation members and land owner and have asked them to give some time to vacate the land as the foundation is doing social work.”
Hemkunt Foundation could possibly be violating FCRA laws
On May 9, OpIndia published a report on how a few organizations and individuals might be breaking FCRA laws under the pretext of collecting funds for Covid-19 relief.
The government of India has a directory of NGOs registered in India. The majority of the NGOs have got their names included in the list as it is one of the conditions to apply for FCRA. When we tried to find Hemkunt on DARPAN, it was nowhere to find. There was only one NGO with the name Hemkunt in it and it was registered in Punjab. We may give them the benefit of the doubt that they might have not registered with Darpan yet but it has been ten years since they are doing welfare projects. It is unclear why they did not register themselves with Darpan.
Despite this, our investigation revealed that the foundation has collected funds from foreign donors through crowdfunding websites such as Ketto, Milaap and DonateKart. It has to be noted that Hemkunt Foundation was one of the main organizations after Khalsa Aid to be working at farmer protest sites at Delhi borders. They had set up a tent city for the protesting farmers. It is unclear if they are diverting funds collected for Covid-19 relief work to their other projects.