Key Obama Advisor Has Hindu Extremist Baggage from Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America

Posted on November 8, 2008


For all the talk of change and hope, one of the first thing that Obama did after getting elected was appoint Sonal Shah, a right wing Hindu extremist figure, as a key advisor to his transition team. Folks may be aware that it is Hindu extremist groups such as the VHP and its student wing Bajrang Dal that have been responsible for the rape of hundreds of Muslim women, the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims and the ethnic cleansing of over 150,000 Muslims from Gujarat.

Further, for the last 3 months, the VHP and its student wing Bajrang Dal had been carrying out a sustained campaign of ethnic cleansing of Indian Christians in the Indian state of Orissa. Due to the violence they have unleashed with impunity, an estimated 30,000 Indian Christians have been driven from their homes into jungles and only those who are willing to accept Hinduism are being allowed to return home. More recently, Bajrang Dal members were arrested and charged with terrorist activity of making bombs and conspiring to explode them in mosques masquarading as “Islamic terrorists”.

Sonal Shah has been the national coordinator for VHP-America and her father has been associated with the Overseas Friends of the BJP. Further, her organization IndiCorps works with a VHP sponsored outfits called the Ekal Vidyalayas – which are single teacher schools with curriculum steeped in instilling hatred against non-Hindu religious minorities. These Ekal Vidyalayas have played a key role in anti-minority violence in the states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

IndiCorps founders also have a close relationship with the notorious Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and have had their students felicitated by Narendra Modi. It is widely held by Indian and International Human Rights organizations that Modi was responsible for the massacres of the 2000 Muslims in 2002.

Modi has the distinction of being the only human rights violator whose diplomatic and tourist visas were revoked by the US State Department under International Religious Freedom Act on account of his egregious and systemic persecution of religious minorities.


Obama team member has Sangh links

HT Political Bureau, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, November 08, 2008
 US President-elect Barack Obama may have cultivated a left-of-center image for himself, but Sonal Shah, the Indian-American advisor in his transition team, has well established rightwing leanings.

The 40-year-old economist has been associated with the overseas activities of the Sangh Parivar. She was a national coordinator of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America campaign to raise funds for Gujarat earthquake victims in 2001.

Her father Ramesh Shah, a vice-president of the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP), had campaigned for LK Advani in Gandhinagar during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. He had also briefly traveled with Advani during his Bharat Udaya Yatra,  countrywide election tour.

Sonal’s brother Amit and sister Rupal are now based in Ahmedabad, running a voluntary organisation, indicorps. Its website says its aim is to “engage the most talented young Indians from around the world on the frontlines of India’s most pressing challenges”.

“I returned to India eight years ago,” Amit told HT before suddenly deciding not to talk any further. An SMS from Rupal said “no comments from here”, and added that Sonal be contacted through email for any queries.

A senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), involved in the global activities of the Parivar, said only Ramesh is associated with its activities. “He works with the OFBJP and supports, among other things, the Ekal Vidyalayas,” the functionary said. Ekal Vidyalayas are single-teacher primary schools run by the RSS with the aim of inculcating Hindu values in children, mostly in tribal regions.

The Shah family hails from Sabarkantha in Gujarat but Sonal was born in Mumbai. Ramesh Shah moved to the US in 1970. Two years later, Sonal, Rupal and their mother joined him in New York. The family later moved to Houston. Sonal has worked as vice-president with Goldman Sachs and also in the US Department of Treasury. Currently, she is with the global development team of

Volunteers at the indicorps office in Ahmedabad were under instructions not to speak anything.

(Inputs from Ahmedabad)

Obama’s Gujarati aide has RSS roots
Times of India, India – 2 hours ago
HIMMATNAGAR (SABARKANTHA) : Gujarati expat Sonal Shah (40), an eminent economist who heads Googles philanthropic arm and has now been appointed an advisory

Obama team’s Gujarat link is Modi visa hope, India – 5 hours ago
7: Modi loyalists in Gujarat feel that newly-inducted Barack Obama team member Sonal Shah, of Gujarati origin, will break the ice and ensure the right

Please also read Obama’s Indian at

Hindu extremists’ reward to kill Christians, as Britain refuses to bar members

The allegations follow the British Government’s refusal to prevent members of two radical groups linked to the worst antiChristian violence in India since Partition entering Britain.

The US-based head of a Christian organisation that runs several orphanages in Orissa – one of India’s poorest regions – claims that Christian leaders are being targeted by Hindu militants and carry a price on their heads. “The going price to kill a pastor is $250 (£170),” Faiz Rahman, the chairman of Good News India, said.

A spokesman for the All-India Christian Council said: “People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy churches and Christian properties. They are being offered foreign liquor, chicken, mutton and weapons. They are given petrol and kerosene. [more]