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Sonal Shah formally severs links with VHP

December 11, 2008 11:05 IST

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Sonal Shah, the first Indian American to be inducted in United States President-elect Barack Obama's [Images] transition team, has formally renounced her affiliation with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which has been accused of fomenting violence against Muslims and Christians in India.

Shah, a former member of the VHP, has said that if she could have anticipated the outfit's role in the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat, she would have never associated with its US branch a year earlier.

'Had I been able to foresee the role of the VHP in India in these heinous events, or anticipate that the VHP of America could possibly stand by silently in the face of its Indian counterpart's complicity in the events of Gujarat in 2002 -- thereby undermining the American group's cultural and humanitarian efforts with which I was involved -- I would not have associated with the VHP of America,' Shah said.

In a statement, obtained and posted by NextGov and the National Journal, the Google executive said the 2002 Gujarat carnage were one of the 'most profound tragedies in the long history of the state when extremist political leaders, including some associated with the VHP, incited riots that resulted in the deaths of thousands'.

According to the Internet posting, in an e-mail sent to her political supporters on Friday, Shah asked for help in combating the allegations and expressed fear that the Obama transition team would ask her to resign as a result of the story.

'I need your help,' wrote Shah. 'This is gaining legs as the National Journal also picked it up. I need to mobilise people against the Leftists and the right wing. There is a likely chance that they will ask me to resign as the team does not need my publicity.'

Shah has formerly been with Goldman Sachs and served as a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration. She was selected by Obama last month for a small team to develop policies on technology.



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