Udayavni Special

Democratic leadership becoming mute spectator to Hinduphobia in party: HAF

PTI, Sep 26, 2020, 11:07 AM IST

Washington DC: Accusing the Democratic leadership of being a “mute spectator” to the “growing Hinduphobia” within the party, including against its own Hindu elected representatives, an American advocacy group warned on Friday that if left unchecked, this influential religious minority may move its support base away towards the Republican Party.

The warning call from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) comes amidst recent survey results that indicate a gradual shift of Indian Americans from the Democratic party to the Republicans and President Donald Trump.

“Talk to Indian American voters as to why many Indian Americans are leaving the Democratic Party, follow their WhatsApp conversations and fingers immediately point to these unchecked attacks and recent anti-India activism from the so-called Super Progressive wing of the Democratic Party to which (Amar) Shergill belong,” the HAF said in an investigative post on Medium.

Shergill, chair of the California Democratic Progressive Caucus, along with another California-based political operative, Pieter Friedrich, have been running campaigns against all Indian American and Hindu lawmakers and officials of the Democratic party, to which the party’s top leadership has remained mute spectator so far, it alleged.

Prominent among those include Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the House of Representatives, Sri Kulkarni, who is running on the Democratic ticket from Texas and is giving a tough time to his GOP opponent and Democratic Michigan State House member Padma Kuppa, the first Hindu and Indian American elected to that state’s house, the HAF alleged.

“Friedrich, Shergill and their political allies targeted not only Kulkarni, Kuppa and Gabbard but also Indian American Democratic legislators like Ami Bera and Raja Krishnamoorthi. Democratic candidates Jenifer Rajkumar, a New York Assembly candidate, and Rishi Kumar, member of the Saratoga City Council and California congressional candidate, were also targeted. Besides Jani, Friedrich also went after another senior Biden campaign staffer, senior policy advisor and former president Obama-appointee, Sonal Shah,” it said.

“The attacks follow a pattern: depict prominent Hindu American donors who assert Hindu identity, call out Hinduphobia or promote robust US-India relations as “Hindu nationalists,” “Hindu supremacists” or “Hindu fascists.” Allege dual loyalty. Raise suspicion against all of them and then intimidate them through reputational harm, even dox them. Only Hindu American candidates supported by these donors are singled out for attack,” the HAF alleged.

It remains to be seen if the Democratic Party can prevail upon one of its senior leaders to hold his fire against Hindu American candidates and donors, and repudiate the tactics of Friedrich, who openly calls on Muslims to support Republican opponents against Hindu American Democrats, it said.

“Absent an urgent course correction, validated surveys and spirited Indian-American WhatsApp discussion groups converge on one scenario: a pivotal minority kicked out of its natural home may just find refuge across the ideological street,” the HAF warned.

While the estimated 18 lakh Indian American voters are a small minority within the electorate, their demographic distribution in states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan is significant, it noted.

According to the HAF, while the source of funding for Friedrich’s anti-Hindu activism is publicly undeclared, there are strong indications of where is it coming from.

“Shaik Ubaid, co-founder of the Indian American Muslim Council, which frequently works with OFMI, and past leader of the Islamist-leaning Islamic Circle of North America, claims in a recent WhatsApp communication (see below) that ‘Pieter Friedrich is the research scholar working with us full time,’ and that he, along with a ‘few others’ will target six Congressional constituencies where ‘RSS-sponsored candidates are running,’ starting with Sri Kulkarni’s 22nd Congressional district in Texas,” the HAF alleged.

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