NRI’s for Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI)

NRI-SAHI is yet another shell organization created by members of the CAG to conjure up an imagery of an innocent coalition of broad-minded Non-Resident Indians sincerely concerned about communal harmony for all Indians.

However, NRI-SAHI is run by the representatives of the following CAG organizations – Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, IAMC, FIACONA and EKTA/CAC. Thus, NRI-SAHI’s claim of being an independent organization is yet another farce and a tactic used by CAG to inflate its claims.

Worse, the group doesn’t have any other activities or mission apart from hounding Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the Gujarat Riots and the so-called “Hindutva attempts” at changing history of Hinduism and India. In essence, NRI-SAHI is a miniature incarnation of the CAG as the analysis below demonstrates.

The website provides an illustration of FOIL’s propaganda network at a glance and highlights the complex interlinkages of some of the CAG groups. NRI-SAHI’s website is hosted by EKTA/CAC, which was registered to Ramkumar Sridharan of FOSA,[1] a key member organization of FOIL’s network. So, while all four claim to be independent members of CAG, in reality, they are all intricately connected.

The screenshot below shows NRI-SAHI’s website, which has not been updated since 2005. The only things found on the website are: a) The 2005 campaign by FOIL, FOSA and members of the CAG opposing the appeal of Hindus for an equal treatment of Hinduism with the Abrahamic faiths in 6th Grade California textbooks; b) the 2005 CAG campaign pressuring the US government to deny visa to Narendra Modi; and c) a 2002 Sadbhavana (goodwill) mission to the state of Gujarat by members of CAG to express solidarity of these NRIs with all victims of the Gujarat riots. None of the other links such as “Home”, “Actions”, “Resources”, “Press” and “Contacts” currently work.

NRI-SAHI Website

However, a search of an alternative NRI-SAHI website (nrisahi.ektaonline.org) on the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine provides working links to the above sections. This shows further evidence of NRI-SAHI’s hollowness. For example, the “Actions” link directs readers to Past Activities that have not been updated since August 2002.[2] Upon clicking on any of the links there, readers are directed to CAC’s website (cac.ektaonline.org). Similarly, the entire “Resources” section is dedicated to Gujarat riots and has not been updated since August 2002.[3] In the same fashion, the “Press” section has not been updated since September 2002.[4]

Section 12.01     NRI-SAHI’s Public Faces and Their Affiliations

According to a 2002 article in The Hindu, NRI-SAHI was created “[i]n the wake of violent incidents in Gujarat…to lend a helping hand to the victims.”[5] The articles show a picture of the following people: Najma Sultana, Raju Rajagopal, P.D. John and Satinath Choudhary. P.D. John is John Prabhudoss and is listed as a representative of PIFRAS and FIACONA in the article. In addition, the article mentions that the group is based in Lansing, Michigan – home to some of Shrikumar Poddar’s other Hindu-sounding organizations.

Similarly, according to another Press release, Shrikumar Poddar, George Abraham (of FIACONA and INOC), as well as Shaheen Khateeb and Mohammad Imran (both of IAMC), are listed as the contacts for NRI-SAHI.[6] Khateeb was president of IAMC in 2011, according to the organization’s Press Release announcing the 2011 Executive Team.[7] Similarly, Saeed Patel is listed as a National Coordinator for NRI-SAHI in a November 10, 2008 news article.[8] Patel is also involved with AFMI and was one of the key volunteers in AFMI’s 18th Annual Convention in 2008.[9]

Another person associated with NRI-SAHI is Sapna Gupta. On May 13, 2004, while replying to an inquiry about NRI-SAHI by an individual named Mandeep Singh Bajwa, Shrikumar Poddar asked him to contact Sapna Gupta, the National Coordinator for NRI-SAHI.[10] Gupta is also the Coordinator for SAPAC (South Asian Progressive Action Collective), another member of CAG. And, Gupta is one of the coordinators of Building Bridges of Understanding, yet another group listed in the CAG! What’s more, Building Bridges of Understanding is itself another coalition that includes many of the same organizations! In the October 14, 2003 meeting minutes of SAPAC, Aparna Sharma, another SAPAC coordinator, declares that “SAPAC is a member of the NRI-SAHI coalition.”[11]

Raju Rajagopal, listed in the above The Hindu article, is also a Coordinator/President of EKTA/CAC.

Finally, the late Najma Sultana was the president of AFMI, according to AFMI’s Press release on her death.[12]

In conclusion, NRI-SAHI is essentially another coalition within the CAG, formed by members of CAG to deceive the regulators, media and the general public. CAG is therefore lying outrightly and creating new groups out of existing ones. The table below summarizes the relationships of the various members discussed above:

NRI-SAHI Personnel Org Connections

 

Section 12.02     NRI-SAHI’s Evident Bias

The information below is testament to the crackpot theories and biased claims of NRI-SAHI and its coordinators. One cannot help wonder how such a group can claim to work for “harmony” with all sections of the Indian population (including Hindus) when it is clear from their thoughts and actions that they only care about non-Hindus.

  1. As mentioned above, Satinath Choudhary is one of the National Co-Coordinators for NRI-SAHI. He is also a Dalit activist who voices concerns about the rights of Dalits, women and minorities in general. But, Choudhary holds unsubstantiated and bizarre views about terror attacks in India. On November 4, 2008, Choudhary, in response to Khalid Azam of IAMC (and a coordinator for CAG), declared:

Ever since the Gujrat (sic) carnage my position has been that most of the terrorist acts in India are likely to have been done by the Sangh Parivar [emphasis added], as they happen to derive maximum political mileage out those acts. I firmly believe that the Godhra train was burnt by the Sanghies, and most of the other acts of terror were perpetrated by them [emphasis added].[13]

   A screenshot of the email is provided below for illustration.

NRI-SAHI Satinath Choudhary Comment

According to Choudhary then, all terror attacks in India, including the Godhra riots, are part of some grand plan of “Hindu extremists” because they want to exterminate all the minorities in India! Somehow, these Hindu groups manufacture Islamic terrorists and Jihadists to attack sites in India to ensure that the Hindu majority community views Muslims with suspicion and hate. Such theories are eerily similar to the ones prescribed by other members of CAG and individuals like Amaresh Mishra, who was invited to the 2008 event hosted by the Association of Indian Muslims, a key member organization of CAG.

Choudhary was also part of the 2002 Sadbhavana (goodwill) mission[14] organized by NRI-SAHI to go to Gujarat and other parts of India to lobby support and funds for the Gujarat riot victims. This delegation then created a report of the horrific conditions of Muslims and other minorities after the riots. With such venomous prejudice held by these organizations, one cannot help but question the inherent bias in such solidarity and fact-finding missions. Choudhary’s tainted lens can only show him red at the hands of Hindus everywhere he looks.

  1. The Sadbhavana mission delegates attempted to show that they genuinely cared for all riot victims, including the Hindus who were roasted alive in the train. On being asked by a journalist whether they had gone to meet with the family members of those who were burnt alive in the train, the delegates gave a rather feeble answer:

In fact, we are ready to meet the relatives of the Godhra killings, but no one even had a list of the victims until just two weeks back. Some of us will be happy to return to Gujarat to meet them.[15]

However, two things need to be pointed out here: a) From the statement above, the delegates had at least two weeks to make an attempt to meet even one or two of the relatives, but they did not work so earnestly for the Hindus; b) Their promise to return to Gujarat to meet the relatives of the Godhra victims was an empty one. None of their Press Releases or articles or future reports ever showcased any attempts to reach out to the families of the train victims.

  1. Teesta Setalvad and other activists exaggerated and even lied about various facts related to the Gujarat riots. Setalvad was chided by the Supreme Court of India’s Special Investigation Team for training people to lie and making exaggerated claims about various incidents in the Gujarat riots.[16] One of them was the case of Kausar Bano. According to the claims, Bano who was pregnant, was gang-raped by a mob, which then gouged out her unborn baby with sharp weapons and threw it in the fire along with her. On March 25, 2010, India Today ran an article showing that this claim was fabricated and that the doctor who performed Bano’s post-mortem in 2002 had concluded that “…her fetus was intact and that she had died of burns suffered during the riot.”[17] NRI-SAHI had carried Bano’s alleged rape and fetus-burning incident as truth in its Sadbhavana mission report[18] to show the savagery of the “Hindu fanatics”. While NRI-SAHI had a chance to correct such statements after the fact based on the 2010 news story, neither the group nor the CAG chose to do so.

Section 12.03     The Hollowness of NRI-SAHI – Admission by a Member

In concluding this page, it is noteworthy to point out the frailty of a group like NRI-SAHI. The screenshot below shows a discussion held on October 14, 2003, at a meeting of SAPAC on how to keep NRI-SAHI running while its founder was in India for only six months! A real organization would not be falling apart just because the founder went to India for six months.

In the screenshot below, members from other groups listed in the CAG agreed to form a “Steering Committee” to tackle the problem above and to run NRI-SAHI in the meantime. Indeed, as discussed above, Shrikumar Poddar (the founder of NRI-SAHI) was in India until about May 2004 when someone asked about NRI-SAHI. He pointed to Sapna Gupta who had agreed to be the National Coordinator for NRI-SAHI. The screenshot below shows that Gupta was one of the people on the Steering Committee along with Imtiaz Uddin of CSDI (another CAG member).

Note also that Aparna Sharma declares in the minutes of the meeting:

One of the main issues was how to keep NRI-SAHI running while its founder is in India/Pakistan for the next 6 months. A steering committee was created that included (among others) Sapna/Shashi (SAPAC); Dr. Lamba (SAGAR); Imtiaz Uddin (CSDI).[19]

 NRI-SAHI Hollowness SAPAC Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] See the Cached Page at: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Ul2cTS5Ly2YJ:dawhois.com/domain/ektaonline.org.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us. Accessed January 17, 2014

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20080828125506/http://nrisahi.ektaonline.org/actions/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[3] https://web.archive.org/web/20080703163247/http://nrisahi.ektaonline.org/resources/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20080828125540/http://nrisahi.ektaonline.org/press/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[5] “Message of Harmony”, October 1, 2002, The Hindu, http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2002100100260200.htm&date=2002/10/01/&prd=mp&. Accessed January 19, 2014

[6] “Press release: NRI SAHI CONDEMNS RIOTS, MURDER, ARSON AND DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTIES IN MUZAFFARNAGAR DISTRICT IN UTTAR PRADESH. WE ALSO CONDEMN INCITEMENT, RUMOR MONGERING, CIRCULATION OF FAKE TAPES, AND TARGETTING OF MUSLIM COMMUNITY WITH THE PHRASE, ‘LOVE JIHAD’, http://www.joychenputhukulam.com/newsMore.php?newsId=33756. Accessed January 19, 2014

[7] “IAMC announces New Executive Team”, January 1, 2011, http://iamc.com/press-release/iamc-announces-new-executive-team/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[8] “Obama’s RSS-link aide criticized”, November 11, 2008, Dawn.com, http://www.dawn.com/news/329469/obama-s-rss-link-aide-criticised.  Accessed January 19, 2014

[9] See the Convention flyer at http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/wp-content/uploads/ads/afmi-6-23-08.pdf. Accessed January 19, 2014

[10] See Message Number 2056 in the India-Unity Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/india-unity/conversations/topics/2056. Accessed January 19, 2014

[11] See bullet # 2 in “Minutes from SAPAC Oct General meeting” on SAPAC’s old mail archive at http://www.mail-archive.com/sapac@www.residentlounge.com/msg00007.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[12] “Dr. Najma Sultana, AFMI’s past-president, is no more”, November 27, 2013, http://www.afmi.org/dr-najma-sultana-afmis-past-president-is-no-more/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[13] See Message # 28564 in the India-Unity Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/india-unity/conversations/messages/28564. Accessed January 19, 2014

[14] “NRIs Sadbhavana Mission To Gujarat & New Delhi”, September 7 –15, 2002, http://www.ektaonline.org/nrisahi/press/090702.htm. Accessed January 19, 2014

[15] http://cac.ektaonline.org/resources/articles/AriseAwake!.htm. Accessed January 19, 2014

[16] Dhananjay Mahapatra, “NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT”, April 14, 2009, The Times of India, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-04-14/india/28031729_1_riot-cases-r-k-raghavan-riot-victims. Accessed January 19, 2014

[17] Uday Mahurkar, “Inhuman rights”, March 25, 2010, India Today, http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/Inhuman+rights/1/89840.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[18] “Arise! Awake!! Reflections From Our Trip to Gujarat, Delhi, and Other State Capitals”, September 6-24, 2002, NRI-SAHI: Non-Resident Indians for A Secular & Harmonious India, Sadbhavana Mission to India, page 4, http://www.ektaonline.org/nrisahi/resources/publications/AriseAwake!.pdf. Accessed January 19, 2014

[19] See the Minutes of SAPAC’s General Meeting on October 14, 2003, archived at the following link: https://www.mail-archive.com/sapac@www.residentlounge.com/msg00007.html. Accessed January 19, 2014