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Fringe Group Protested Against US Congressman Ro Khanna, Say Townhall Organisers

An organiser, who requested anonymity, alleged that the small group of HSS protestors handed out flyers accusing former US Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic front runner, of corruption in Ukraine.

PTI

Updated:October 5, 2019, 10:36 AM IST
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Fringe Group Protested Against US Congressman Ro Khanna, Say Townhall Organisers
Indian-American Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna. (Image: Facebook)

Washington: Organisers of the townhall by Congressman Ro Khanna in Silicon Valley this week to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi have alleged that a fringe Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) was behind the protest held against the Indian American lawmaker.

Over 300 members of the Indian American community attended the event, said one of the organisers, asserting that Khanna enjoys the support of the community.

The organiser, who requested anonymity, alleged that the small group of HSS protestors handed out flyers accusing former US Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic front runner, of corruption in Ukraine.

Many of the protestors were supporters of US President Donald Trump, the organiser further alleged.

Khanna, a two-term Congressman from Silicon Valley, whose grandfather was a Gandhian, received a standing ovation when he said that he would never bow down to bigotry or white nationalism and sectarianism and would always stand up for pluralism.

IIT Kharagpur alumni, Chinmoy Roy, who attended the townhall and birth anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi said that he interacted with the protestors before going for the event.

"I spoke to the group. I had a very polite and good discussion with them. They were mostly members of HSS," he said and claimed that many of the protestors were not familiar with the issue.

"Half of the people did not understand the meaning of Ro's tweet. I told them please read it over and over again," Roy said, asserting that the tweets by the Congressman, which has upset many people, are not against Hinduism.

Organisers of the protest in a statement alleged that Khanna in his tweets appears to be endorsing anti-Gandhi activists Amar Shergill and Pieter Frederich.

"That's not true. I asked the protestors to go back and read the tweets again and again. In fact, Ro (Khanna) has rejected Peter," Roy said.

Roy and the other organisers of the townhall asserted that Khanna is an ardent supporter and believer in Gandhian teachings and philosophy.

In fact, his grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar was a Gandhian, a fact mentioned by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during an event held at the Library of Congress to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

"Ro Khanna's grandfather, whose last name is Amarnath Vidyalankar was a champion for freedom who spent years in prison alongside Gandhi in the quest for Indian independence, Pelosi said amidst applause from the audience at the Library of Congress on Wednesday at the event organized by the Indian Embassy.

Meanwhile, Khanna has denied the allegations against him.

"Gandhi Ji believed in satyagraha, a belief that the truth will ultimately prevail," Khanna had recently told PTI responding to a question on the sentiments against him among a section of Indian Americans.

"I am confident that my record and work will speak for itself. I have worked very hard to strengthen the economic and defense relationship with the US and India and have established great credibility on foreign policy," he said.

"I will continue to work to strengthen this relationship grounded on the ideals of the American founders and Mahatma Gandhi --ideals of inclusion and respect for every human being," he added.

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