Rights Body Calls for FBI-CIA Probe into US Hindu Groups’ Links with RSS

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Supporting the demand made in a resolution passed by the Teaneck Democrat Municipal Committee (TDMC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called it “a much-needed intervention to tackle the challenges posed to freedoms in the US by Hindu supremacist hate and bigotry”.

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a renowned civil rights organisation working to eliminate racial discrimination in the US, has voiced support for a demand to investigate the links of several Hindu American organisations with India’s Hindu nationalist movement.

The NAACP’s branch in Bergen County, New Jersey, has released a letter of support for a resolution passed by the Teaneck Democrat Municipal Committee (TDMC) last month seeking investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into these organisations.

“TDMC’s resolution is a much-needed intervention to tackle the challenges posed to freedoms in the US by Hindu hate and bigotry. US-based groups that adhere to this hate-filled ideologies have been known for their connections with India’s Nazi-inspired fascist organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose offshoots and affiliates carry out mass violence against India’s religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims, as well as lower-caste Hindus,” the NAACP said.

The TDMC, which is based in Teaneck city of New Jersey’s Bergen County, in its September 12 resolution, urged state governor Phil Murphy; the two US Senators from the state, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker; and Congressman Josh Gottheimer to seek FBI and CIA investigations into Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), SEWA International, Infinity Foundation and Ekal Vidyalaya, among others.

The resolution had urged the FBI and the CIA to “step up [their] research on foreign hate groups that have domestic branches with tax-exempt status”. It also called on the Bergen County Board of Commissioners, New Jersey District 37 Senator Gordon Johnson, Assemblywomen Shama Haider and Ellen Park, Teaneck Council Members, and “all other elected officials running for political office [to] unequivocally disavow support and reject campaign funds from Hindu extremist hate groups”.

Signed by NAACP Bergen County chapter president Junius F Carter III, the letter of support said, “based on recent events in Edison and Ridgewood in New Jersey, TDMC understood the impact, lack of knowledge about extremist groups, and its supporters have on elected officials, religious organisations, and communities.”

The NAACP’s reference is to a hate parade organised by the Indian Business Association (IBA) on August 14 in Edison town of New Jersey that featured a bulldozer. India’s federal and state governments have, in recent months, illegally deployed bulldozers to demolish Muslim-owned homes and businesses as well as mosques and churches without following due process.

The bulldozer at the Edison parade featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath. Adityanath has been especially severe in misusing the bulldozer to raze Muslim properties. The IBA later apologised for bringing a bulldozer to the parade, calling it a “blatant divisive symbol.”

The bulldozer hate parade was condemned by several New Jersey leaders, including the two US senators and federal and state lawmakers.

The fact that the IBA parade’s grand marshall was Sambit Patra, an Islamophobe and the national spokesperson for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), indicates its links to the RSS, of which the BJP is an offshoot. The Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), a decades’ old organisation that suspiciously rushed to register itself as a foreign agent during the 2020 election cycle, was also represented at the Edison parade of August 14.

In Ridgewood, an organisation called the Param Shakti Peeth of America, had last month organised a speech by Sadhvi Rithambra, an anti-Muslim Hindu preacher who has spewed venom against Islam and Muslims for decades. The church in Ridgewood where this event was to be held, later cancelled the event.

The Indian American Muslim Council, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to peace, pluralism and social justice, has urged the US Department of State to revoke the visas of both Sambit Patra and Sadhvi Rithambra.

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