Hindutva supporters joins US Department of Homeland Security as White House liaison

Lina B.

Date published: Thu, 11 August 22

Amit Jani, a former New Jersey political operative, has recently become the White House liaison at the US Department of Homeland Security. Jani’s family has links to Indian Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders. He was appointed Biden’s Muslim Outreach coordinator during the 2020 election cycle, when the news of his family’s connections came to light. 

An open letter published by Equality Labs, a South Asian American advocacy organization on March 6, 2020, says, “To hire a supporter and friend of Narendra Modi opens the door to embracing anti-Miuslim and Hindu nationalist politics.” The backlash that occurred during the 2020 election cycle seems to have been overlooked by the Biden administration in the appointment of Jani as a liaison at Homeland Security. 

Jani’s father, Suresh Jani, was a founder of the Overseas Friends of BJP in the US, which is a New Jersey-based sister organization of India’s ruling party. Jani has posted several photos of himself with Modi, including after Modi’s reelection and during a “Howdy Modi” in Texas. His mother, Deepa Jani, campaigned for Modi’s reelection.

Hindu nationalism has steadily become more and more entrenched in the social and political landscape and fabric of the US. According to a report published by Jasa Macher on Hindutva in the US, the Hindutva agenda in the US focuses on consolidating power for Hindutva groups through networks of groups that “organize Hindu communities by capturing the righteous frustration at experiences of racism.” They further wish to direct diaspora Hindus to engage with upper caste cultural repertoire – accepting Hindus as the “true owners of land in India.” 

Hindutva influencers in the US include the Hindu American Foundation, Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora, the Bhutada Family Foundation, the Dharma Civilization Foundation, and more. 

Macher argues that Hindutva groups are seeking to become cultural gatekeepers and representatives of Hindu communities in the US via youth programs. The ability to mobilize large groups of Hindu families carries significant weight when these groups hold fundraisers for US government officials on issues related to Hindus and India. A report published in 2014 found that $55 million was transferred from the US to India via Hindutva related charities in the US, the evidence through which was taken from tax records. 

As Democrats continue to platform and uplift Hindutva supporters, it is increasingly obvious that there is a normalization of Hindutva presence in the US political apparatus. It is necessary to condemn this, and to call your local representatives to express the condemnation of Hindutva in the United States political sphere.