By Amitabh Pal on January 31, 2014

An apologist for a mass murderer is running for Congress in California.

Dr. Vanila Singh is in the race for the seventeenth Congressional district, challenging two Democrats, Congressman Mike Honda and former Obama Administration trade representative Ro Khanna.

Singh has been defending an Indian politician named Narendra Modi, who quite possibly could be the Prime Minister of India in a few months. However, after she was called out for doing so, she unconvincingly disavowed her position in an effort to distance herself from a political patron's super PAC.

In 2002, as the head of the Indian state of Gujarat (the home state of Mahatma Gandhi, believe it or not), Modi presided over an anti-Muslim pogrom that left thousands of people dead. Official complicity in the killings was glaring.

"In many cases, the police led the charge, using gunfire to kill Muslims who got in the mobs' way," Human Rights Watch said in a report issued at the time. "A key state minister is reported to have taken over police control rooms in Ahmedabad [the state's largest city] on the first day of the carnage, issuing orders to disregard pleas of assistance from Muslims."

After initially ignoring the bloodbath, the Bush Administration, in response to pressure from human rights groups, issued a ban on Narendra Modi visiting the United States.

Singh wants that ban lifted. Her carefully worded backpedal on the matter does not deny this.

"It would be regretful if certain groups that have certain agendas would make the policy for the United States," Vanila Singh told SFGate.com, referring to the successful lobbying by human rights organizations to deny Modi a visa.

Singh would seem to be doing the bidding of a Chicago entrepreneur named Shalabh "Shaili" Kumar, a supporter of Modi -- although she denies this.

Over the past decade, Modi has gone from strength to strength. He has been re-elected to head his state a number of times and has now been chosen as the prime ministerial candidate of the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party for this summer's national elections. The fact that he is persona non grata for the United States is a black mark that his backers are eager to erase.

"Singh acknowledges she never considered a political career until Kumar, founder of a super PAC, Indian Americans for Freedom, asked in October whether she would be interested in jumping into" the race, reports SFGate.com.

However, Singh told The American Bazaar that she has "not received any financial or other aid or benefit from Mr. Kumar or any organization he is part of, nor have I sought any such support and he is not involved in any way with my campaign in any official or unofficial capacity."

She added: "With respect to the Narendra Modi issue, I respect the decisions made by the US State Department and believe they should continue to determine what is in the best interest of the United States with regard to the promotion of Human Rights around the world, without prejudice or bias from special interest groups."

Despite the denials, it's fairly clear what's going on here. Singh and Kumar should not be using a Congressional race to wash the hands of someone like Modi.

The voters of California should be wise to this.

Photo: Vanila Singh for Congress.

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BREAKING NEWS: Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson of Bhopal infamy died a fugitive from justice. The Progressive got...

This Halloween movie will scare anyone who cares about news.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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