Reject Hindu Nationalist Hate in Georgia
We are horrified to learn that a number of Hindu and Indian-American organizations in the Atlanta area are hosting Sadhvi Ritambhara, a Hindu extremist leader from India, for a series of satsangs and pravachans (religious gatherings and discourses) on August 30th and 31th, 2022.
Sadhvi Ritambhara is a Hindu extremist whose speeches have been described as “the single most powerful instrument for whipping up anti-Muslim violence.” She is a leader of the VHP, one of India’s largest Hindu nationalist organizations, described as a “militant religious outfit” by the CIA. In 2003, India’s central intelligence agency named her as one of 8 leaders who were responsible for inciting rioting and violence against Muslims, culminating in her presence at the destruction of the Babri Masjid, a medieval mosque, by a Hindu extremist mob in 1992.
This isn’t her first visit to the US. In 1998 and 2007, Hindu nationalist organizations in the US, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), and Hindu Students Council (HSC) made efforts to bring her on fundraising and lecture tours. In 2010, Sadhvi Ritambhara was invited to speak at the Hindu Samaj Temple in Mahwah, NJ. Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Board Member Rishi Bhutada defended Sadhvi Ritambhara’s visit to the US, and HAF “applauded” the invitation and defended the right of Hindu Americans to hear spiritual talks from this “holy woman from India.”
We can stop this from happening again. In 2021, the VHPA organized a series of events featuring another Hindu extremist, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, who has publicly declared that "Islam should be eradicated from Earth ... all Muslims should be eliminated.” Within two days of a public campaign launched by Hindus for Human Rights, the VHPA canceled the event. We are disappointed, but not surprised, to see Hindu nationalist organizations like the VHPA and HSS providing a platform to yet another Hindu extremist leader.
Hindus for Human Rights calls on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) to cancel the event with Sadhvi Ritambhara, and to formally denounce her comments and the hateful ideology of Hindu nationalism.
We also call for the U.S. government to investigate VHPA and HSS for their ties to extremists in India. Any registered 501(c)3 nonprofit receiving federal funding should not be allowed to propagate Islamophobia and genocidal hatred among Americans.
We call on the media outlets sponsoring this event – TV Asia, Rashtra Darpan, Atlanta Dunia, NRI Pulse, and S&S Digital Media USA – to issue a formal apology to their readers and audience.
Finally, as Hindus, we call upon our fellow Americans and all people of conscience to stand up to Hindu nationalism and all hate perpetuated in the name of religion.