A Republican Hindu organisation is running anti-Hillary Clinton advertisement on Indian-American television channels, attacking the Democratic presidential candidate as “sympathetic towards Pakistan” and her longtime aide for her Pakistani origin.
The 29-second commercial begins with a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has a map of Pakistan, which includes disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as its territory.
“Hillary, sympathetic towards Pakistan gave billions of dollars in aid and military equipment used against India. She was instrumental in blocking PM Modi’s visa. (She) takes contributions from countries and individuals known to support radical Islam,” says the ad endorsed by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC).
The advertisement also attacks former US president and Clinton’s husband Bill, and her longtime aide Huma Abedin.
“Her current aide Huma Abedin is of Pakistani origin and will become chief of staff if she wins. Her husband Bill Clinton wants to give Kashmir to Pakistan,” it says and calls on Americans to “Vote Republican – great for you, great for US-Indian relations and great for America.”
Abedin’s mother is of Pakistani origin and her father is from India. She was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1976 to Syed Zainul Abedin, from Delhi, and Saleha Mahmood Abedin. The family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when Abedin was two.
RHC’s head Shalabh Kumar did not respond to questions on the ad that began airing days ahead of the November 8 polls.
He, however, has told The New York Post that “Huma in general is as pro-terrorist as you could be… she’s got a really dark background. I can’t even fathom. I don’t understand why Hillary will associate herself with Huma.”
He said RHC is heavily involved in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.
Indian-American supporters of Clinton slammed RHC for its commercial. “This advertisement is misleading, incorrect and false,” said Ajay Jain Bhutoria, a fund-raiser for Clinton campaign.
“Trump and RHC are misleading the community with false facts,” he alleged.
“Trump showed disrespect for Indians and has mocked Indian call-centre workers at an election rally earlier this year. Trump has created conflict between Hindus and Muslims… India and Pakistanis in USA. We left these kind of religion-based politics back in our home country,” Bhutoria said.
Bhutoria said Clinton has built strong relations with India as the first lady and later as secretary of state.
“No incoming US president has had the level of interaction with India that Hillary has had. Her trip in 1995 helped paved the way years later for President Bill Clinton’s historic visit to India in 2000. Hillary has walked that extra mile for India,” he said.
“As US Senator, Hillary Clinton was co-chair of the Senate India Caucus. And as US Secretary of State she made multiple visits, during which she highlighted the need for India to ‘not just look east, but engage east and act east’ — a mantra Modi government subsequently adopted,” Bhutoria said.