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Sonal Shah renounces VHP affiliation



Sonal Shah

Washington: Sonal Shah, the Indian-origin member of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, whose links with VHP sparked criticism, has renounced her affiliation with the Hindu outfit accused of fomenting violence against Muslims and Christians in India.

Ms. Shah, former member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has said if she could have anticipated the outfit’s role in the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat, she would have never associated with its U.S. branch, a year before the incident. “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,” Ms. Shah said.

In a statement, obtained and posted by NextGov and the National Journal, the Google executive said the 2002 Gujarat carnage was one of the “most profound tragedies” in the long history of the state when “extremist political leaders, including some associated with the VHP, incited riots that resulted in the deaths of thousands.”

In an E-mail sent to her supporters, Ms. Shah asked for help in combating the allegations and expressed apprehension that Mr. Obama transition team could ask her to resign.

“I need your help,” wrote Ms. Shah. “This is gaining legs as the National Journal also picked it up and likely Fox. I need to mobilise people against the leftists and the right wing. There is a likely chance that they will ask me to resign as team does not need my publicity.” Ms. Shah has formerly been with the Goldman Sachs and served as a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration. — PTI

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