Obama Appointee With Possible Indian Terrorist Links -Truth! but She Denies It Reflects Her Views!

Obama Appointee With Possible Indian Terrorist Links –Truth! but She Denies It Reflects Her Views!

Summary of eRumor:
An email from Torch Light Ministries concerning allegations of terrorist links with an Indian nationalist group and Ms. Sonal Shah, a recent appointment to the Barack Obama’s transition team.
The Truth:
This email was sent out by Torah Light Ministries and the ministry CEO, Dr. Stanley Chester, told truthorfiction.com that his son wrote it from India.

According to Change.org, the website of the office of the President Elect, Sonal Shah, is named on the transition team.   Shah is an Indian-American, the head of Global Development Initiatives at google.org and formerly employed by Treasury Department and National Security Council Official.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VPH) is an international Hindu organization, which was founded in India  in 1964 and an offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Indian Hindu Nationalist Organization.  This organization was linked to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and banned three times in India when the government considered them a threat but then later lifted the bans.

News of Anti-Christian violence in the western area of the Indian state of Orissa resulting in many deaths and more than 20,000 people homeless.  

On November 2, 2008, the Indian news agency Sify reported that a letter written by five bishops was read to congregations in churches across Orissa on Sunday voicing their agony over the failure of response by state and central government to the the acts of violence .    The bishops wrote, “The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal have been blamed for the violence against Christians, the majority of whom are tribals, after the two organisations retaliated following the August 23 killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides.”

The India Times said on 11/10/08 that three Indian-American groups held a protest in New York over Shah’s appointment, “claiming that she is closely associated with the VHP  and warned against Hindutva “infiltration” into the power centres of the US society.”

Shah denied any such links in an economics section of the India Times dated November 12, 2008, saying “that her ‘personal politics’ have nothing in common with the views espoused by the VHP, the RSS, or any such organization’’, and she has always “condemned any politics of division, of ethnic or religious hatred, of violence and intimidation as a political tool’’.   click for article

On 11/11/08,  The Deccan Herald, a news service in New Delhi said there was a connection with the RSS through Shah’s father, Ramesh Shah.  According to this article the Shah family immigrated to the United States in 1970 and have been active with RSS overseas activities.   The article said, “Shah’s father had headed the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, which collects funds from the US residents to support the tribal schools in India run by  Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, one of the oldest RSS outfits working in the tribal areas in India.”  click for article.
updated 11/12/08