REPUBLICAN PARTY DENIES INVITING GUJARAT CHIEF MINISTER TO ADDRESS LEADERS
WASHINGTON, Nov 17 — The Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) has reported that it has successfully exposed Narendra Modi’s purported event on “Capitol Hill” as a fraud and an exercise in illegal and criminal misuse of US Government symbols.
After five days of phone calls, letters, document verification and hundreds of emails between CAG activists and Congressional staffers, several members of the House Republican Conference whose names had been used to endorse the Modi event have washed their hands of the event.
First reports in the media also suggest that US Congress members were unaware that their names or Congressional seal were being used to promote the Modi event and that the fraud had been enacted by an organization called National Indian American Public Policy Institute (NIAPPI) and one Shalabh Kumar, a person with a checkered history of ethics violations.
According to the CAG, the office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has issued a “Cease and Desist” order to Shalabh Kumar and NIAPPI, who are organizers of the event outside Capitol Hill, where Modi is expected to appear via satellite video on November 19.
The promotional material for the event illegally used the seal of the House of Representatives as well as names and pictures of the top Republican leadership without their consent. It purported to have the support and endorsement of the House Republican Conference, a top Republican body chaired by Rep. Cathy Rodgers.
The “Cease and Desist” notice sought immediate cessation of all activities to promote the Modi broadcast in the name of Congresswoman Rodgers and the House Republican Conference. Even as the office of Rep. Rodgers issued the “Cease and Desist”, other Republicans namely Congressman Sessions moved swiftly to put a distance between themselves and the Modi broadcast. In a statement issued by Congressman Sessions received by CAG via email, Congressman Sessions stated clearly:
“It has come to my attention that the National Indian American Public Policy Institute (NIAPPI) recently used my name and image on an invitation to an event that it is hosting in Washington, DC, on November 19. At no point in time did I agree to attend this event, nor did I approve of the use of my name or image on this invitation. Further, I did not see the invitation until it had been distributed publicly. Had I known that my name and image were on this invitation before it was distributed, I would have requested that they both be removed. Additionally, I have contacted NIAPPI to request that they remove my name and image from this invitation and that they explicitly ask my approval before using my name or image in any of their materials going forward.” – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX-32)
NIAPPI, the outfit behind the fraud, is a front organization for the Sangh Parivar posing as a public policy institute, said the statement by CAG. It is a resting ground for RSS stalwarts like Bhailal Patel. In the case of this event, Kumar and company tried to run piggyback on an event titled the “Indian American Meetup” that has nothing to do with NIAPPI, and that is indeed taking place inside the Capitol Hill building on November 19. The program schedule for this event clearly showed that neither Modi nor any functionary of the RSS are scheduled to speak at this event. This GOP “meet-and-greet” event with Indian Americans was projected as a Modi promotional by Kumar and the NIAPPI.
CAG activists spoke with the offices of Rep. Greg Walden and Rep. Bob Goodlatte seeking clarification, since their pictures appeared on the flyer. Staffers from both Congressmen’s offices stated categorically that they were unaware of the event, or that the Congressmen’s names and pictures were being used without authorization to promote it.
CAG called on the House Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into the fraudulent use of the House Seal, and the fake projection of GOP support for the event. It also urged Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to expel Kumar from the HRC’s Indian American Advisory Board. “A person who openly resorts to fraud to promote a human rights abuser like Narendra Modi should not be representing the Indian American community at the House Republican Conference” said Biju Mathew from the CAG. CAG further called upon Congresswoman Rodgers to publicly disassociate herself from NIAPPI and Modi.
The Coalition Against Genocide includes a diverse spectrum of organizations and individuals in the United States and Canada that have come together in response to the Gujarat genocide to demand accountability and justice. The coalition had effectively campaigned against Narendra Modi in 2005 to get a US entry ban on him for egregious religious freedom violations.