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RSS man is special envoy in US
|San Francisco: In spite of misgivings
over his saffron links, spokespersons for the 1.7 million-strong
Indian-American community welcomed the possible appointment of Bhishma K
Agnihotri as India's "special envoy" for NRI affairs in the US.
Agnihotri's appointment, a formal announcement of which is expected soon,
will be the first time New Delhi has picked an Indian-American for a
It's expected that Agnihotri, chancellor of the Southern University Law
Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a Green Card holder, will be
virtually given diplomatic status when he takes on his new assignment.
The Agnihotri appointment has triggered concern among officials in the
Ministry of External Affairs who fear such a move would undermine the role
of Lalit Mansingh, the present Ambassador in Washington, DC, who is a
retired career Foreign Service officer and a political appointee.
Besides fears that Mansingh's turf and authority were being poached,
Agnihotri's affiliation to the RSS has also been cited as a reason for
concern. However, Mukund Mody, founder and former president of the
Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party, brushing aside these
concerns remarked: "He ( Agnihotri) has impeccable qualifications.
Sure, he has strong RSS links, but these must not be seen as a
President of the Overseas Friends of Congress Surinder Singh Malhotra,
said the Indian-American community should have been given the
responsibility of picking its representative."I have strong
reservations about appointing someone who is not a true representative of
the NRI community." Chairman of the Indo-American Vision Foundation
Nadadur Vardhan said "Right now, it looks like the RSS wants to do
someone a favour. q