Anand Shah, the brother of economist Sonal Shah who has been named by US President-elect Barack Obama as member of his advisory board, said today that his family and their NGO had nothing to do with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the Gujarat government.
As a “coordinator” of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad America (VHPA), Sonal Shah helped raise funds for victims of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat. Her brother, who said that she couldn’t comment given her present responsibilities, criticised the 2002 riots.
“We strongly believe that no one in their right minds would ever approve of violence. The riots in Gujarat are not the way our society should deal with conflicts. Our entire family believes in this. We follow a compassionate Gandhian ideology that underlines pluralism, diversity and the need to take all sections of the society along in whatever we do,” Anand Shah told The Sunday Express.
“We are in no way involved with the VHP in India or the Gujarat government here,” said Anand Shah, who runs Indicorps in Ahmedabad, an NGO Sonal Shah co-founded that provides fellowships to overseas Indian-origin young professionals to do internships in India in social work.
VHPA media secretary Shyam Tiwari told The Sunday Express: “Sonal was a member of VHP of America at the time of the earthquake. Her membership has expired.”
Sonal Shah, 40, a former Vice President at Goldman Sachs and director of the US State Department of Treasury, works for Google.org on its Global Development team. Her father Ramesh Shah moved to New York in 1970. Sonal joined her father, with her mother, sister and brother, in 1972. Her father is a former member of the Overseas Friends of BJP.
(with ENS, Ahmedabad)