Washington: A Democratic lawmaker, who is set to become the new face of the party in post-election debacle, has pledged to highlight the persecution of Hindus in South Asia and do more to integrate the concerns and aspirations of the community in India into his work.
Congressman Keith Ellison, a top candidate for the Democratic National Committee chairman, made the commitment in a letter to the Hindu American Foundation days after he participated in a conference call with Hindu leaders from across the country to listen to their concerns and answer their questions.
He said he will ensure renewed outreach to the Hindu and Indian-American communities to foster their greater participation. He said he will give the community "well-deserved" and "much-valued" representation in the Democratic Party.
"As we discussed, I will do more to integrate the concerns and aspirations of the Hindu community in India into my legislative work," Ellison said in a letter to Suhag Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation.
"I also pledge to highlight the persecution of Hindu minority communities throughout South Asia. If elected DNC chair, I will ensure renewed outreach to the Hindu- and Indian-American communities to foster greater participation and more well-deserved and much-valued representation in the Democratic Party," Ellison said in the letter dated December 16, which was released to the press yesterday.
The conference call on December 12, among others was joined by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and representatives of nearly 30 Hindu and Indian American groups. The call covered a wide range of concerns ranging from Ellison's focus on South Asia that many felt ignored the concerns of Hindus where they are minorities, to whether he would constructively engage the current Government of India to promote bilateral ties.
Leaders on the call also queried Ellison as to how, should he be elected DNC chair, he would work with the incoming four Hindu American Democrats in Congress to increase engagement and involvement of the broader Hindu and Indian American communities.
"It goes without saying that Hindu-Americans and Indian- Americans enrich our nation every day. I am proud to work with colleagues such as Senator-elect Kamala Harris, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Representative Ami Bera, and Representatives- elect Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthy, who represent the best values of the Democratic Party," Ellison wrote.
Responding to a question during the call regarding his focus on the Gujarat riots of 2002 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was governing the state, Ellison said he viewed the issue as a "closed matter" since the Indian Supreme Court has issued its ruling.
India is a key strategic partner and friend to the US, he said, adding that he looks forward to build a "constructive and congenial relationship with the Indian government and Indian-American community". He also said he will continue to urge Congress and the Administration to work with India on key areas of shared importance.