Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr V H Patel, The Swaminarayan Hindu Mission
Thank you for your letter of 12 July 2000.
I am replying as a Trustee of The Swaminarayan
Hindu Mission to the questions that you have raised.
Over a number of years, various distinguished
and prominent guests as well as British Members of parliament,
including Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Rt Hon John Major MP, Paddy Ashdown
MP, H R H Prince Charles, H R H The Duke of Edinburgh and late
Princess Diana have visited our Mandir (Temple). Keith
Vaz MP, is one such member who has visited our Mandir.
Almost All Leicester MPs and City and County councillors have
visited our Mandir in Leicester.
However, I wish to make it clear that the Mission
is a non-political organisation. It is a socio-religious organisation.
We do not involve ourselves in politics.
Our organisation has not made any donation to
Mr Vaz or Mrs Vaz (senior) or any charitable organisation at his
request. There are thousands of followers of The Mission in Britain
and we cannot comment on their behalf.
To our knowledge, The Mission or any of its
members have not given any payment to Mr Vaz for planning permission
or site acquisition at Hamilton, Leicester. We deeply resent such
a suggestion. We find it extremely offensive and we would like
to know who has made such an applying statement.
No support or donations have been organised
for Mr Vaz by Mr Waghela or anyone in the Leicester Branch. We
are unclear of what you mean by hospitality. Every visiting guest,
dignitary or VIP to our Mandir is welcomed and given hospitality
in our traditional manner.
At the invitation of our USA branch, Mr Vaz,
as the only MP of Asian origin in Britain at that time, attended
The Cultural Festival of India, in 1991. He was provided with
an economy return ticket to New York, USA. The aims of the Festival
promote better understanding between
people of different faiths;
promote harmony and peaceful co-existence
amongst all communities;
develop constructive and creative
youth activities; and
sustain the roots of Indian culture.
28 July 2000