June 23, 2007
Indian Muslim Council-USA, an advocacy group working towards protecting and promoting the pluralist and tolerant values of the Indian society along with a broad-based alliance representing Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities as well as organizations of secular persuasion commend the City of Hollywood, Florida for distancing itself from an event honoring Sadhvi Ritambhara.
This announcement comes in the wake of a concerted campaign by Indian Americans of various background protesting the City of Hollywood’s ‘sponsorship’ of the event on Saturday June 23rd.
Ms. Ritambhara is a leading member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a militant organization that has been implicated in promoting hatred and violence against Muslims, Christians and other cultural and religious minorities in India. Ms. Ritambhara is currently under-trial for her role in the Babri Mosque demolition case. On December 6, 1992, she incited an armed Hindu mob to tear down the 16th century Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, in violation of the order of the Indian Supreme Court. She further incited Hindu mobs to attack Muslims leading to over 3000 deaths in December 1992 and January 1993.
Shrikumar Poddar, the Hindu spiritual leader of Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, Lansing, MI said, “Sadhvi Ritambhara is the anti-thesis of Hinduism, always speaking ill of other faiths, I wonder how the State Department issues visa to such promoters of hatred”.
The officials at the City of Hollywood were educated by the callers about the deplorable record of Ms. Ritambhara and were surprised to learn that the organizers had quoted City of Hollywood, Florida as one of the sponsors of the event. The City immediately demanded and received a written apology from the organizers of the event.
Shekhar Reddy, writing on behalf of South Florida Hindu Association, apologized for the embarrassment caused to the City of Hollywood.
The organizations that participated in this campaign include:
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM)
Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA)
Friends of South Asia (FOSA)
Hindu Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment
Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA)
Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC)
Indian American Coalition for Pluralism (IACP)
Indian Christian Forum (ICF)
International Service Society
Muslim Youth Awareness Alliance (MYAA)
NRI Coalition for Social Justice
NRI’s For Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI)
Supporters of Human Rights in India (SHRI)
Vedanata Society of East Lansing