Posts Tagged 'hss'

Obama ignores ‘secular’ group complaints, promotes Sonal Shah

Obama ignores ‘secular’ group complaints, promotes Sonal Shah
21 Nov 2008, 0329 hrs IST, Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Obama_ignores_secularists_protests_promotes_Shah/articleshow/3738975.cms
WASHINGTON: US President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday named Indian – American policy wonk
 
  Sonal Shah as a leader of a key policy working group, ignoring charges from the so-called leftist-secular Indian groups in the U.S about her alleged links with radical Hindu groups.

Shah is one of nine leaders who will head seven Policy Working Groups tasked with ”developing priority policy proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration,” the transition team announced on Wednesday.

Shah will co-chair the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform panel along with Julius Genachowski and
Blair Levin.

Other panels, all of which will be headed by a single person, are as follows: Economic: Daniel K. Tarullo,
Education: Linda Darling-Hammond, Energy and Environment: Carol M. Browner, Health Care: Senator Tom Daschle, Immigration: T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar National Security: James B. Steinberg, Dr. Susan E. Rice.

Some of these positions could conceivably lead to appointments in the administration. For instance, Daschle is now strongly tipped to be the health secretary. On Wednesday, the Obama transition team also formally announced several other White House positions, including David Axelrod as Senior Advisor to the President, Lisa Brown as Staff Secretary, Greg Craig as White House Counsel, and Chris Lu as Cabinet Secretary.

In naming Shah to head a policy group, the President-elect has seemingly snubbed Leftist activists in the U.S who loudly protested her inclusion in the Obama transition team last week, ostensibly because of her family’s connections in India to the RSS and the VHP.

Shah responded with a statement that her ”personal politics
 
have nothing in common with the views espoused by VHP, 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.”

In its press release about the new policy planning panels, the transition team referred to Shah’s work as the co-founder of Indicorps, a U.S.-based non-profit organization offering one-year fellowships Indian-Americans to work on development projects in India, which Leftist groups had viewed suspiciously.

The transition team also cited her work at the Center for American Progress on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues and the Center for Global Development on development policy issues.

Sonal Shah currently heads Google.org’s global development efforts and is on temporary on leave from that job to help with the transition. Prior to joining Google, she was Vice President at Goldman, Sachs and Co. developing and implementing the firm’s environmental policy.

She also worked at the Department of Treasury from 1995-2002 on various economic issues and regions of the world, including Bosnia, Kosovo, the Asian crisis and sub-Saharan Africa, and at the National Security Council
from 1998-1999.

RSS, Bajrang Dal are not terrorist groups: Britain

RSS, Bajrang Dal are not terrorist groups: Britain
19 Nov 2008, 1021 hrs IST, IANS 
 
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com./India/RSS_Bajrang_Dal_are_not_terrorist_groups_Britain/articleshow/3730887.cms
 
LONDON: The British government has said neither the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) nor the Bajrang Dal are terrorist organisations and their 
members are not banned from entering Britain.

“The government do not consider the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the Bajrang Dal as terrorist organisations,” British Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lord Malloch-Brown told the House of Lords.

“Neither organisation is proscribed in the UK or in India, nor do the Indian government classify either as a terrorist organisation,” Malloch-Brown said in reply to a question by former cabinet minister Lord Chris Patten.

Malloch-Brown said decisions on whether or not to ban a group in Britain “must be proportionate and based on evidence that a group is involved in terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000.”

The British minister also turned down a plea by Patten, who had visited India in October, to “ensure” that members of the RSS and Bajrang Dal are prevented from entering Britain.

Malloch-Brown replied that neither the RSS nor the Bajrang Dal are banned in Britain or subject to other restrictions or sanctions. Nor were they classified as terrorist organisations or banned by the Indian government.

“Unless an organisation is proscribed in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000, membership of an organisation does not in itself provide grounds for refusing entry to the UK.

“Where there is evidence that the presence in the UK of a particular individual would not be conducive to the public good, consideration will be given to denying entry,” the minister said in his answer earlier this month.

While Patten’s questions at the House of Lords may have been prompted by the anti-Christian violence in Orissa, informed sources said the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) – set up in 1966 as the nearest equivalent of the RSS in Britain – works very differently from Hindu groups in India.

“The HSS was set up in a number of countries. They have little to do with the RSS and abide by the laws of the country where they are based,” said a source closely allied to the HSS in Britain.

“They largely undertake activities concerning cultural identity rather than nationalistic identity. You can’t equate what happens in Gujarat, or elsewhere in India with what’s happening in Britain. For the second generation in particular, India is a bit abstract,” the source said.

The HSS is said to have around 70 ‘shakhas’ or branches offices in Britain, with around 1,100 regular visitors.

“Over the years, British prime ministers and opposition leaders have passed through their doors,” the source said.

RSS General Secretary Mohan Rao Bhagwat stopped over in Britain in September on his way back from a visit to the Caribbean.

“He was felicitated by the community. Some important people, including police, were aware of the visit and there was no problem,” the source said.