A group of Indian-American organizations and individuals have launched a campaign against Sonal Shah, a member of the transition team of the US president-elect Barack Obama, for her alleged links to India’s Hindu fundamentalist ultra-right. Specifically, she is said to have worked in America for the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), an civic ally of the right-wing BJP opposition party that was deeply implicated in the 2002 Gujarat pogroms. The organizations are demanding that Shah to come clean on the issue. From IndiaServer, Nov. 21:
A statement jointly issued by the organizations said that there were disturbing news reports that Sonal Shah had close association with Vishwa Hindu Parishad that had openly supported the persecution and pogroms against the Christian and Muslim minorities of India.
The organizations which are actively participating in the movement include Coalition Against Genocide, Indian American Coalition for Pluralism and Non Resident Indians for a Secular and Harmonious India.
Media reports both in the US and India after Sonal Shah was named to the transition team of the president-elect said that she and her family has been associated with the activities of VHP in the US and its other affiliated organizations. She was national coordinator for VHP-America to raise funds for the 2001 Gujarat earthquake victims.
Ramesh Shah, father of Sonal Shah, has been a vice-president of the Overseas Friends of the BJP in the US and had actively campaigned for the BJP’s prime minister-in-waiting L K Advani during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Shah also established the Gujarat Samaj, there.
This is the same group of NRI organizations and individuals which had successfully campaigned against the issue of US visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. His visa was later revoked and has been reported to have been denied on the second application.
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