Indian-Americans fear Sonal's VHP link may influence US policy | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian-Americans fear Sonal's VHP link may influence US policy

india Updated: Nov 21, 2008 11:09 IST

Concerned over reports of President-elect Barack Obama's Transition team member Sonal Shah's links with rightwing Hindu parties, some Indian- Americans have expressed fear that it might possibly influence the US policies towards India.

"... We are legitimately concerned about reports of your personal links with the VHP - whose social values, politics and actions are antithetical to Obama's message of hope and inclusiveness - and how those links might possibly influence your role in the transition team and the new administration's policies towards India and Indian-Americans," a letter written to Shah by the community members said.

The letter welcomed her recent statement that personal politics have nothing in common with the views espoused by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and said: "we fully expect that your actions on the transition team will be faithful to that assertion."

But, it said that her statement does not allay all of their concerns.

The letter has expressed "dismay and disappointment" that at no time during the 2001 was there any statement from her dissociating herself from dreadful acts of VHP and RSS.

"... We are not aware of any assistance from you or by IndiCorps to the thousands of families affected by the 2002 communal pogroms (in Gujarat), nor are we aware of your speaking out against the funding of organisations implicated in these hate campaigns by charities in the US, with some of whom you have been partnering.

"And, more recently, we have not heard any condemnation from you of the spate of violence against Christian Adivasis being orchestrated by VHP, for which the BJP-partnered government in Orissa has been indicted by the National Commission for Minorities," the letter said.