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Obama team member rejects VHP ties

Sonal Shah, an Indian American member of US president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, has renounced her former controversial connection to the VHP, accused of fomenting violence against Muslims and Christians in India.

world Updated: Dec 12, 2008 23:41 IST
Arun Kumar

Sonal Shah, an Indian American member of US president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, has renounced her former controversial connection to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), accused of fomenting violence against Muslims and Christians in India.

In a statement published by Nextgov and National Journal, the former Google executive said if she could have anticipated the role of the VHP in the 2002 Gujarat genocide, she never would have associated with the group’s US branch a year earlier.

“Had I been able to foresee the role of the VHP in India in these heinous events, or anticipate that the VHP of America could possibly stand by silently in the face of its Indian counterpart’s complicity in the events of Gujarat in 2002 —thereby undermining the American group’s cultural and humanitarian efforts with which I was involved — I would not have associated with the VHP of America,” Shah stated.

Many prominent Indian-Americans have stood behind Shah, but others have raised doubts about her past.