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Hindu groups in US up in arms against Democratic think tank

The two-day event, ‘Desis Decide’, organised by think tank— Indian American Impact begins on Wednesday. Over the past few years, the think tank has emerged as one of the most influential Indian American democratic groups. Eminent Indian American Deepak Raj is one of its co-founders and a major funder.
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 03:33 IST
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 03:33 IST

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Washington: Several Hindu groups are up in arms against a Democratic think tank for inviting to their annual gala individuals and groups that have allegedly attacked Indian American candidates and officials.

The two-day event, ‘Desis Decide’, organised by think tank— Indian American Impact begins on Wednesday. Over the past few years, the think tank has emerged as one of the most influential Indian American democratic groups. Eminent Indian American Deepak Raj is one of its co-founders and a major funder.

In separate statements, various Hindu groups on Tuesday said that inviting such individuals and organisations with a “questionable past is frustrating for them as these organisations have publicly attacked Indian American candidates and elected officials.”

"Where Impact's core mission is building Indian American political presence at all levels, it's frustrating and confusing that Impact would platform organisations which have publicly attacked Indian American candidates,” said Rajiv Pandit, Hindu American PAC Board Member.

“Two groups on the panel, in particular, have targeted several Indian American political leaders that Impact itself supports!” he said.

The panel in contention is “Building Bridges, Amplifying Impact: Interfaith Advocacy.” The Hindu groups also raised objections to two of the panellists— Safa Ahmed from Indian American Muslim Council and Ria Chakrabarty from Hindus for Human Rights.

Indian American Impact did not immediately react to the objections being raised by the Hindu groups.

According to Pandit, the attacks have ranged from holding Indian Americans to double standards to xenophobic accusations of dual loyalty, and include individuals like Raja Krishnamoorthi, Sri Kulkarni, Shri Thanedar, Niraj Antani, Padma Kuppa, Jenifer Rajkumar, and Bhavini Patel.

“These groups have also gone after Impact's own former Executive Director Aruna Miller. I can't help but feel that at some level, by platforming such fringe groups, Impact is shooting itself in the foot,” Pandit said.

Hindu Action said that the only 'Hindu' organisation being invited to 'Desis Decide' – the voter mobilisation summit in Washington DC, is a non-profit that targets Democrat members of Congress who dare to speak up for American Hindus.

“You know that there is a problem of anti-Hindu bigotry in sections of the Democrat think-tank,” the Hindu Action said.

“It’s shocking to see Impact’s Desis Decide brochure maligning India and its current government of discrimination towards Muslims,” said Tahir Aslam Gora, president of Progressive Muslims’ Institute of Canada.

“Prime Minister Modi’s today India is uplifting Muslims of India along with other communities. Today’s India seems determined towards developing Indians of all origin. Bharat happened to be a holy land in terms of accommodating people from all over the world for centuries and the today’s Bharat carrying on this fabulous legacy,” Gora said.

Hindu activist Geeta Sikand said that Impact Summit has kept out all authentic Hindu organisations including CoHNA, Hindu Action, and Hindu American Foundation.

"I am appalled at the bias in this session as all the invited speakers are from groups that are one-sided in this session. Hey, there is Hinduphobia. So why was no Hindu advocacy organisation invited? Why was there no conversation on the increase in Hinduphobia in the United States?" Sikand alleged.

“The FBI report shows anti-Hindu hate crimes have doubled in the past year. Yet, none of the three organisations are supporters of HR 1131, and condemn the attacks on Hindu places of worship and anti-Hindu bigotry. In fact, HFHR wrote to oppose HR 1131," she said.

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Published 15 May 2024, 03:33 IST

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