This is organized into a menu of FAQs to make it easier for readers to better understand the background, concerns and demands of our campaign.
Updates to FAQs
Updates to FAQs
Why did you only focus on Aruna Miller’s Campaign and not others?
We did not start off looking into Ms. Miller’s donations. We entered this when members of Peace Action Montgomery expressed concern about two events where Ms. Miller actively pursued support at two Hindutva events (one was an out-of-state fundraiser in her honor).
Our rubric was only to look at the donations from hosts of these events and only if that amount was over $1,000. That is where our numbers come from. We know there were many other donors at these events who gave money.
We do not expect candidates to know background on every donor that contributes. We are not aware of any other candidates who actively pursued Hindutva support. However, attending an out-of-State event by individuals who were promoting the Howdy Modi hate rally is a more intimate transaction than having a donor send in a check.
About Hindutva (Hindu Fascism)
Can you explain all the different terms/players? It’s confusing.
- Hindutva is the Ultra Nationalist ideology of “Hindu supremacy.”
- RSS/HSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the right-wing extremist organization with a paramilitary (think of the KKK). Their US supporters are known as the HSS. While the HSS is a national group, it’s largest influence and leadership is in Houston, Texas. Prime Minister Modi has a long history of leadership in the RSS.
- BJP/OFBJP is the political party for the Hindutva ideology. Their US supporters are the OFBJP (or Friends of the BJP). The US groups have formed PACs such as the Hindu American Foundation.
Isn’t it possible that these groups weren’t always so extreme?
They have been involved in massacres against the minority populations, the most notable was the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom. At the time, current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Governor for State. The White House took the unprecedented step of banning him from our country.
In other words, the RSS/BJP not only have a supremacist ideology (Hindutva) but, since their inception, have been incredibly violent in putting their beliefs into practice.
Can you share more info?
Here are some salient links:
Aruna Miller’s Ties to Hindutva
What are her ties?
Aruna Miller’s donations are tied to both the leadership of the HSS and the OFBJP. She also has received significant funding from the HSS PAC. You can click here to get more detailed information. But in general, here are some huge red flags:
- The OFBJP Virginia Event – There were two OFBJP hosts and one of them actually served as her campaign Treasurer. Both of these OFBJP leaders have contributed a combined a total of $16K for her current Lt. Governor Campaign.
- The HHS Houston Event –The Houston event didn’t merely have HSS members, the host was actually the HSS Vice President Ramesh Bhutada.
- The Money Flow – The money being given to Ms. Miller’s campaign by these leaders are sometimes done in a surreptitious manner. For example, while Ramesh Bhutada didn’t directly donate, his wife, nephew, wife’s cousin, uncle and PAC all donated (the Bhutada family trust). Likewise, the OFBJP hosts had family members give donations and one donated another $6,000 through his medical practice.
What kind of money are you talking about?
Conservatively, over $65,000. This is because our research only focused on well-known Hindvuta leaders who made contributions of $1,000 or more. We suspect that there are more less-known Hindutva members who came to these events and made donations.
Do you believe Aruna Miller is a fascist?
The evidence that Ms. Miller has benefitted significantly from the support of Hindutva champions/leaders is strong and compelling.
We have not focused our campaign on speculating “why.” Rather we are stating that we don’t want an elected official with such strong financial ties to multiple factions of the Hindutva. Frankly, we would be upset if it was just one group.
As an example, if you are a gun safety advocate, and a candidate received funds from the NRA and other gun lobby groups, would that be enough of a reason to be concerned. Would critics expect you to explain why the candidate did that? Would asking for the candidate to return the money be deemed unreasonable?
Do you really expect a candidate to know the background of all their donors?
Of course not, but these Hindutva leaders served as event hosts, her campaign treasurer and gave a lot of money. They were well-known as influential Hindutva leaders who don’t hide their political views.
As an example, Ms. Miller flew to Texas for a fundraiser thrown by Ramesh Bhutada who is the Vice President of HSS. The Bhutada family were organizers of the Howdy Modi Hate Rally in Houston. As an analogy it would be akin to a Maryland candidate flying to another State to attend a fundraiser hosted by leadership of the Proud Boys.
Wasn’t the Houston event a while ago and she made a tweet since then?
A few points for this:
- The Hindutva and Modi’s fascist ideology and violent actions predate both his election and the events that Ms. Miller attended. Since the Bush Administration, PM Modi was barred from the US because of the Gujurat pogram. It wasn’t until President Trump was elected was PM Modi was allowed to visit the US.
- Ms. Miller’s tweet was about one policy not the Hindutva ideology and motives. We don’t want merely a tweet criticizing one action but the whole Hindutva movement and its leaders. A number of Hindus of goodwill and influence have done this, making it absolutely clear that they have a zero-tolerance of supremacist ideologies, no matter where they originate.
- She is still taking money from them. Ms. Miller’s Lt. Governor campaign received $16,000 from the two OFBJP hosts.
Wouldn’t it be hard to give the money back?
It might and that reinforces our point. It is a lot of money! We wouldn’t have gone to the trouble to develop this website if it was a few $50 checks.
Sudhir Sekhsaria seems to be one of the bigger donors. What can you share about him.
Dr. Sekhsaria was a co-host of both events: The Bhutada fundraiser in Houston and the Virginia reception for BJP leader Vijay Jolly. He also is a contributor to the HIndutva PAC (see below).
In terms of influence, he served as Ms. Miller’s Campaign Manager for her 2018 Congressional bid. In January 2022, he donated $10K to her current Lieutenant Governor’s Campaign.
About the Wes Moore/Aruna Miller Campaign
Has the gubernatorial campaign accepted Hindutva money?
The two OFBJP hosts for the Virginia event contributed a total of $16K to Ms. Miller’s current Lt. Governor campaign.
This is an international issue. Why should Wes Moore care?
It is an issue of racism..and the worse kind -violent Fascism. So the question is rather why would he not care?
It should be noted that caring about international Fascism is not a novel issue (e.g. WWII).
Have you tried contacting the Moore/Miller campaign directly?
Yes – they know how to reach us. In fact, we would have preferred to have a direct conversation, which would have saved us a lot of time and effort in developing this campaign.
About The Campaign
Who is Peace Action Montgomery?
We are a chapter of the national Peace Action, the largest grassroots organization committed to organizing a powerful peace movement. Our chapter has been in existence since 2005 and has worked on a variety of global issues related to peace and human rights. Another thing to know about us is that we hate hate hate Fascism.
What is your Ask?
Rather than a tweet about a specific policy, we are requesting that Ms. Miller make an unequivocal condemnation of the Hindutva ideology and entities, (not merely a particular policy). We also ask that she return the campaign donations from the influential Hindutva donors during her three campaigns. Better yet, donate that money to an organization that champions human rights.
The Moore/Miller campaign claims that you are taking things out of context and trying to divide the South-Asian community.
This is a dividing issue but it is not between South-Asian communities or religions – it is between those who refuse to tolerate Fascism and those who are willing to look the other way or even benefit from it.
We also find this dismissive response offending to the thousands of people who have died from Hindutva violence or are being persecuted through the policies of the BJP.
C’mon what is your ulterior motive?
We despise Fascism.
Who do I contact about this Campaign?
You can send inquiries to Susan Kerin with Peace Action Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Money Trail
Here are the donations by the Hindutva Leaders:
|KIRIN||BHUTADA (wife of Ramesh)||1000|
Hindu American Foundation
|HINDU AMERICA PAC||5000|
OFBJP Leaders (Virginia Event)
Note that Sudhir was the Campaign Treasurer
Database (NOTE: There is a second database with more of this info)
|FAMILY MEMBERS SAME ADDRESS||SEKHSARIA||7400|
|FAMILY MEMBER SAME ADDRESS||THAKAR||2300|
Note: While Dr. Sekhsaria has ties with other Hindutva events, this is the only event linked to Dr. Thakar. Though he has given substantially to the various campaigns.
OFBJP Donors to her 2022 Congressional Campaign )
(she was considering running for Congress until she was tapped for the Lt. Governor Role)
OFBJP Donors to her 2022 Lieutenant Governor Campaign
|MEDICAL PRACTICE OF (Asthma and Allergy)||SUDHIR SEKHSARIA||6000|