VHPA Response to unfounded accusation in NextGov and National Journal

via Press Release published on December 23, 2008
We have noticed that grave
accusations are made against Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu
Council) of America (VHPA) by certain groups and people and media has
reported them without verifying the facts.  We would like to set the
record straight.
 
In a statement obtained exclusively by NextGov and National Journal, Ms. Sonal Shah is reported to have said:

In 2002, Gujarat suffered one of the most profound tragedies in its long history, when extremist political
leaders, including some associated with the VHP, incited riots that
resulted in the deaths of thousands. 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.
 
VHP of America abhors any kind of violence and it had written a letter to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
on June 17, 2002 condemning burning alive of 58 Hindu passengers in
Sabarmati Express at Godhra by a Muslim mob and the  ”despicable
violence in its aftermath” The same letter also appeared in
India Aboard of August 9, 2002. These documents clearly
demonstrate that VHPA did not stand by silently when the violence
erupted in Gujarat.
 
Ms. Shah’s statement would mislead
the readers to assume that the Gujarat riots erupted without any
provocation and put onus on the Hindus for the riots.  We are
constrained to point out the genesis of the riots, i.e. burning alive
of 58 Hindu pilgrims by Muslims for no fault of theirs. As per the
figures given by the Union Minister of State for Home Shriprakash
Jaiswal, who belongs to the Congress Party, in Parliament on 11 May
2005, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots, 2548 people
were injured and 223 people were missing.  
 
While violence in any form must be
condemned, it is wrong to term the Gujarat riots as something worst
that happened in India. These riots are part of a continued saga of
Islamic violence in India since 8th century that
includes the infamous Mumbai blasts in 1993 orchestrated by Ibrahim
Dawood who is now sheltered by Pakistan and the recent terrorist
attacks in Mumbai. More than 50,000 Hindus have been killed by Muslim
separatists in Kashmir in the last decade of the last century and a
half million Hindus have been driven out from Kashmir by the same
Muslim extremists.
 
Mr. Gautam Nagesh of National Journal
has implied that VHP of America is a “branch” of VHP, India. VHP of
America is an independent body, registered as a not-for-profit
corporation under IRS code 501 C (3) and is governed by the laws of the
land.  We reiterate that VHPA is independent of any organization,
whether in the US or anywhere else, legally, organizationally and
fiscally. VHPA has been serving the Hindu American community for the
last 38 years through its service-oriented programs and has been in the
forefront of helping people in distress. VHPA has raised funds and
helped victims everywhere. This includes not only victims of Gujarat
earthquake but also of hurricane Hugo, Federal Building bombing in
Oklahoma, World Trade Center attacks, Tsunami and Katrina.
 
We hope that this will set the records straight for VHP of America.

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