Shalabh Kumar supporters demand apology from Washington Post over profile

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Hindu Americans for Kumar says the article is an “attack on Hindu traditions.”

Shalabh Kumar, with Manasvi; American Bazaar/Sirmukh Singh Manku

Supporters of Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar are demanding an apology from the Washington Post for a profile piece on the Indian American that the paper published on February 22.

A press release issued by the group Hindu Americans for Kumar, through its Facebook page, says the story, titled “The man angling to become the U.S. envoy to India shares Trump’s love of the limelight,” is an “attack on Hindu traditions” and it distorts facts.

In the piece, the Post’s India bureau chief Annie Gowen wrote that the Chicago businessman “has been quietly waging a behind-the-scenes campaign to be America’s envoy to New Delhi, although, publicly, he says he would ‘have to think about it’ if asked.”

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The article also discusses Kumar’s relationship with his goddaughter, former Bollywood actress Manasvi.

“This is a hit piece targeted to undermine Mr. Kumar’s selfless work for our Nation, Republican Party and Hindu Americans,” said Krishna Bansal of Hindu Americans for Kumar. “He is an honorable man of faith who has been working tirelessly for many years.”

Bansal said the article “seems to be an organized move to tarnish Mr. Kumar’s image due to his major role in President Trump’s victory.”

The rise and rise of Shalabh Kumar (January 7, 2017)
Indian American businessman Shalabh Kumar appointed to Donald Trump’s transition team (December 1, 2016)

The release asks supporters to write to Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt and Goven.

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Hindu Americans for Kumar, which calls itself as “a dedicated group that has formed in admiration of” Kumar’s “service to the America and Hindu American community,” also provides a template of the letter on its Facebook page.

His supporters were especially riled by the Post’s characterization of Kumar’s relationship with Manasvi.

The release quotes a letter sent by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-IL, to Washington Post criticizing the piece.

“I am personally aware of this sacred relationship between Mr. Kumar and his Dharma daughters, Anika and Manasvi, and have had regular involvement with the entire Kumar family,” Sessions wrote. “The article on Mr. Kumar ignored some of the basic facts about his incredible contributions to the Republican Party and his staunch devotion to his faith and family. His deep ties with the Indian community present a wonderful opportunity for this Administration to not only bolster the support among Republicans but to also reach across the aisle in the Indian-American community. I believe the Post’s readers deserve to know the entire truth about this wonderful man.”

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The press release pointed out that Swami Vigyananand, a Hindu scholar and founder of the World Hindu Foundation, “has attested the facts on Biological vs Spiritual Relations in Hindu Dharma.”

Watch: Interview with Shalabh Kumar and Manasvi