Indian American Muslim Council asks Texas Tribune to rescind Sonal Shah’s appointment as CEO
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has appealed The Texas Tribune to rescind the appointment of Sonal Shah as the organization’s chief executive officer.
iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
Last week, Jim Schachter, the chair of The Texas Tribune’s board of directors, announced that Shah will succeed its founding CEO Evan Smith, starting January 2023.
The IAMC says Shah’s appointment as chief executive at The Tribune, a nonpartisan and one of the biggest nonprofit news organizations in the US, “comes as a big shock and surprise to many Indian Americans,” whose work “centers around documenting the violent Hindu extremist groups and defending the human rights and religious freedoms of religious minorities in India.”
According to the IAMC, Shah has had “close ties with Hindu supremacist groups,” especially India-based Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), categorized by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a “religious militant organization”.
The IAMC said on Tuesday that Shah was an active member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), the US counterpart of VHP. In a statement on Tuesday, the IAMC said, “In India, VHP has been one of the principal non-state actors responsible for whipping up anti-Muslim and anti-Christian hate, bigotry, and violence. The US Department of State, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have implicated VHP in numerous incidents of deadly anti-minority violence in India.”
In 2021, the VHPA invited Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati for a virtual event. The IAMC said Saraswati is a “Hindu militant priest spearheading a pan-India campaign to commit genocide of the country’s 200 million Muslims.”
The IAMC added that during her stint with VHPA, internal emails suggest that Shah often advised the group about its image management.
The IAMC also alleged that Shah has ties to the US-based Hindu extremist groups linked to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “She has supported Ekal Vidyalaya, another VHP-led project in India, which has been accused of spreading the RSS agenda of Hindu supremacy and of promoting anti-minority hate among young children,” the IAMC said in a release.
“We are disappointed by The Tribune’s decision to appoint Shah as the next CEO despite her well-documented links with Hindu supremacist groups. If her appointment is not rescinded, it will demonstrate a total disregard by The Tribune for the sentiments of the American Muslim community, especially Indian American Muslims and Indian minorities who are facing an onslaught of hate from Hindu extremist groups like VHP and RSS in India,” said IAMC executive Director Rasheed Ahmed.
He added, “Trust in public service journalism that is independent, impartial, and accurate can’t be built by those who follow extremist ideologies. Her leadership could be potentially used to influence journalists to protect and defend Hindu nationalist organizations in the US. The Texas Tribune’s board of directors must reconsider its decision and revisit its vetting process for candidates to be appointed for such important positions in the organization.”
IAMC added that Shah’s father Ramesh Shah served as president of the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), which was registered as a Foreign Agent of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by the US Department of Justice in 2020.
Courtesy : Indica News
Note: This news piece was originally published in indicanews.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights