Indian ambassadors around the world appear for RSS’s ‘Hindu nationalism’ events

According to recent investigation by OFMI, it revealed that a number of consulates in different countries have participated in various Hindu nationalist events within their professional capacity

Photo courtesy: Sikh24.com
Photo courtesy: Sikh24.com
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NH Web Desk

After the news that Toronto consulate’s Consul general of India keynoted a Hindu nationalist event, proof has been emerging about 15 Indian diplomats across nine countries that have taken part in similar events in the last few years.

According to a recent investigation by the Organisation for Minorities of India (OFMI), published on Sikh24.com, a number of consulates in different countries have recently participated within their professional capacity, in various Hindu nationalist events. Dinesh Bhatia, consul general had sparked a controversy in some sections for being on the stage with garlanded pictures of KB Hedgewar and MS Golwalkar. Both are the first leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Hedgewar and Golwalkar wanted India to be a Hindu nation. They had created RSS into a paramilitary force to propagate Hindu nationalism.

“From North America to Europe and Asia to South America, Indian ambassadors and consuls have appeared as honored guests, keynote speakers, and even co-hosts of events organized by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh — the international wing of the RSS — as well as events organized by the RSS’s religious wing, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and occasionally even by the international wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” reports OFMI spokesperson Arvin Valmuci. “We have compiled evidence that 15 Indian diplomats in nine countries have spoken at 24 different Sangh Parivar events since 2013, most in just the last two years. On at least two occasions, a diplomat joined a top RSS executive at an event — on another two occasions, a diplomat joined a top executive of the VHP. Our data is not comprehensive and we are certain that Indian diplomats are collaborating with the RSS on a far larger scale than what we’ve uncovered so far.”

Here are the details of the Indian consulate participating in different events across the world:

  • On November 4, 2018, High Commissioner Venkatachalam Mahalingam of India’s Guyana commission participated at an event organised by the HSS (Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh) in Georgetown. He shared the stage with HSS Sanghchalak (President) Ravi Dev. HSS is a subsidiary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for supporting and mobilising Hindus living outside India
  • On October 27, 2018, Consul General Swati Kulkarni of India’s Atlanta consulate was the chief guest at an HSS-organized event commemorating Hedgewar’s founding of the RSS. She shared the stage with keynote speaker HSS International Coordinator Saumitra Gokhale.
  • On September 29, 2018, Consul General Puneet Agrawal of India’s Hong Kong consulate was the guest of honor at a programme jointly held by the HSS and VHP.
  • On June 30, 2018, Honorary Consul Bhav Dhillon of India’s Auckland consulate was the chief guest at an event jointly organized by the HSS and Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP). He shared the stage with HSS President Pravin Patel. It was Dhillon’s third time this year collaborating with the OFBJP.
  • On June 8, 2018, Consul S Vivekananthan of India’s Munich consulate spoke at an HSS-organized yoga day programme.
  • On November 19, 2017, Soon after Dhillon’s appointment to New Zealand consulate, he attended an HSS-organized symposium in Sandringham which featured RSS Joint General Secretary Manmohan Vaidya as keynote speaker.
  • On October 15, 2017, Commissioner Mahalingam spoke at an HSS-organized event for the third time that year. He shared the stage with Saumitra Gokhale.
  • On October 8, 2017, Consul General Nagesh Singh of India’s Atlanta consulate was the special guest at an HSS-organized event in Atlanta where garlanded pictures of Hedgewar and Golwalkar were displayed. The consul general performed obeisances to the photos.
  • Also on October 8, 2017, Ambassador Sujan Chinoy of India’s Tokyo embassy was the keynote speaker at an event celebrating the birth centenary of RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya.
  • At least two other Indian diplomats attended HSS-organized celebrations of Upadhyaya in 2017. On September 25, 2017, Consul Agrawal was the guest of honor at an Upadhyaya event in Hong Kong which was jointly organized by the HSS, VHP, and OFBJP. He shared the stage with keynote speaker Swami Vigyananand, a Joint General Secretary of the VHP who has stirred controversy for supporting the distribution of trishuls (small tridents) despite reports that the weapons have been used in anti-minority pogroms in India.
  • Also in September 2017, High Commissioner Mahalingam attended a Upadhyaya event in Guyana.
  • On September 25, 2017, Consul General Nagesh Singh hosted a celebration of Upadhyaya at the Atlanta consulate. While it was not an HSS-organized event, the consul general did attend at least two Hindu nationalist events within the next two weeks.
  • On October 7, as reported by Khabar magazine, “Consul General Nagesh Singh and Consul D. V. Singh attended” a Cumming, Georgia event jointly organized by the VHP and HSS. Nagesh spoke alongside VHP Atlanta Chapter President Kusum Khurana. The next day, October 8, as previously mentioned, the consul general again attended an HSS-organized event.
  • On June 25, 2017, High Commissioner Mahalingam spoke at an HSS-organized yoga day event.
  • On February 23, 2017, Consul General B. Vanlalvawna of India’s Sydney consulate was the guest of honor at an event jointly organized by the VHP and HSS to commemorate Hedgewar’s founding of the RSS. He joined HSS Sanghchalak Nihal Agar, Saumitra Gokhale, and Manmohan Vaidya of the RSS. Photos of Hedgewar were displayed throughout the venue.
  • On January 29, 2017, Consul General Nagesh Singh and Deputy Consul Surendra Adhana of India’s Houston consulate appeared at an HSS-organized yoga day in Sugarland, Texas.
  • On October 9, 2016, Ambassador Sujan Chinoy spoke at an HSS-organized Upadhyaya event in Tokyo.
  • On May 29, 2016, Consul General Anupam Ray of India’s Houston consulate spoke at an HSS-organized Hindu Sangathan Divas (Hindu Unity Day) where he was joined by HSS Sanghchalak Vinod Ambastha.
  • On August 30, 2015, Vice Consul Shambhu Amitabh from India’s New York consulate attended an HSS-organized Hindu Sangathan Divas. He was joined by keynote speakers Subramanian Swamy — a senior BJP leader who was not then in office — and Rajiv Malhotra.
  • On June 21, 2015, Consul General Nagesh Singh spoke at an HSS-organized yoga day where he was joined by HSS Sanghchalak Ved Nanda and Swami Vigyananand, the controversial VHP executive. The same day, Consul General Venkatesan Ashok of India’s San Francisco consulate jointly organized a yoga day with HSS.
  • Also on June 21, 2015, High Commissioner Ravi Bangar of India’s Cyprus embassy jointly organized a yoga day with HSS.
  • On September 14, 2013, Consul General N. Parthasarathi of India’s San Francisco consulate spoke at an HSS-organized “Dharma and Yoga Fest” alongside Saumitra Gokhale and Ved Nanda.
  • On September 7, 2013, Consul General Harish Parvathaneni of India’s Houston consulate spoke alongside Gokhale as well as several other key leaders of HSS’s local and national branches, including HSS Vice President Ramesh Bhutada, HSS Public Relations Chief Amit Misra, and HSS Houston Chapter President Subash Gupta.

A survey of recent Vijayadashami celebrations hosted by HSS chapters throughout the United States also reveals the intimate links between the HSS and the RSS. Garlanded pictures of Hedgewar and Golwalkar were prominently displayed at over a dozen such events around the country, as seen in posts shared by HSS-USA’s official Facebook page. Locations included Houston, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Jose, and suburbs of Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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Published: 14 Nov 2018, 8:00 PM
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