CHICAGO, USA, September 13, 2013 (TCN): (HPI Note: This startling turn of events was announced on twocircles.net, a website reporting on issues of concern to Muslims in India. The withdrawal was done without consulting the Hindu members of the Parliament's board of directors.)
American branch of right-wing Hindutva group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) suffered a major setback today when a respectable interfaith organization the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR) decided to withdraw from the event that VHPA was organizing in Chicago.
VHPA is holding event marking 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanda which will feature Baba Ramdev as the chief guest (see here). It is "co-hosted" by many Hindu organizations based in the USA. Air India is also listed as one of the co-host.
120-year old CPWR is the organization that invited Swami Vivekanda to Chicago in1893. In a statement issued today [see here, issued by Mary Nelson, CPWR's Executive Director] CPWR said:
"We honor Swami Vivekananda and that legacy he left creating interfaith cooperation to build a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Our organization was not informed that an event we were asked to co-sponsor was also co-sponsored by organizations promoting controversial political positions. While we do honor and promote the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, we respectfully withdraw our name from any co-hosting or co-sponsorship of the 'World Without Borders' event and any connection to this event or its other co-sponsors."
Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) [see here for a list of members--it is mostly comprised of Muslim, leftist and Christian groups] has welcome the move by the CPWR to disassociate itself VHPA's event. "Hindutva extremists are exploiting Swami Vivekananda's name to surreptitiously gain credibility and respectability in the US. On the one hand the VHP is fanning the flames of currently raging sectarian violence in Muzaffarnagar in India through virulent anti-minority propaganda and on the other its followers in the US are trying to project Hindu supremacist ideology of Hindutva as pluralistic," said Dr. Shaik Ubaid, a spokesperson for CAG.
"This incident exemplifies attempts by Hindutva organizations to legitimize their virulent politics by appropriating the legacies of important historical personalities such as Swami Vivekananda," said Dr. Raja Swamy, also a CAG spokesperson . "These have gone largely unnoticed and unchallenged until now mostly due to the general lack of understanding on the part of US institutions of the divisive and violent agenda of Hindutva groups in India," Dr. Swamy added.