Who is Sunita Vishwanath and what is the controversy on meeting with Rahul Gandhi in USA?

New Delhi: Sunita Vishwanath, a United States-based woman and human rights activist, is in media headlines over her alleged meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to the country. Sunita Vishwanath is also a close associate of billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, who is also known to be a staunch critic of the Narendra Modi government.

What is the controversy related to Sunita Vishwanath?

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Union Minister Smriti Irani launched a scathing attack on the Congress party and questioned Rahul Gandhi’s alleged meeting with Sunita Vishwanath in America. During her press conference, Irani claimed that Sunita Vishwanath is a member of an organization owned by billionaire investor George Soros, which is allegedly involved in anti-India activities.

Irani sought to know why Rahul Gandhi is ‘coupling’ with those who are funded by George Soros as it is known to all what Soros intends to do. While making the allegations, Irani also presented a picture in front of the media in which Rahul Gandhi is seen sitting with Vishwanath.

Irani further claimed that Rahul Gandhi’s visit to New York was coordinated by Tanjim Ansari, project director of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which has ties to the Jamaat-e-Islam – both radical Islamic organizations.

“When it is clear to every Indian what George Soros intends to do, why is Rahul Gandhi socializing with those who are funded by Soros? It is also clear that this is not the only Soros connection. Even at the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Karnataka, Irani, while addressing a press conference, said the global vice president of the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundation was found with Rahul Gandhi.

“What is extremely disturbing is the links with Islamic circles in North America,” he said, adding that if one runs a public domain search on the registration process for the NRI interaction with Rahul Gandhi in New York, he finds the link. Will go Tazeem Ansari’s,” he added.

It may be noted that former Congress MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi went on a 10-day visit to the US from May 31 and attended events in three cities, San Francisco, Washington DC and New York. However, his visit to the US was mired in controversy due to his anti-government statements and meeting with controversial figures like Sunita Vishwanath and Tanzeem Ansari.

Irani’s scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi comes after an FIR was lodged against Amit Malviya, the head of BJP’s IT department in Karnataka. The Karnataka Police registered an FIR against Malviya on the basis of a complaint by Ramesh Babu, a member of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. In the FIR, Malviya has been accused of promoting enmity between groups and inciting people through a video allegedly mocking Rahul Gandhi, which he posted on social media.

“Gandhi family once again proved to what extent they can go to suppress the truth even after gaining power in the state (Karnataka). But information available on public domain shows that the meeting was organized by Jamaat and Jamaat. This meeting was called by people associated with George Soros,” Irani said.

So, who is Sunita Vishwanath?

Apart from being a women’s rights activist, Sunita Vishwanath is the co-founder of the US-based organization – Hindus for Human Rights. She has also been accused of being a “proxy” for George Soros, against the backdrop of allegations that her NGO for Afghan women received funding from a billionaire American investor.

She is said to have been born in Chennai and moved to the United States at an early age. In 2001, she co-founded the non-profit humanitarian organization Women for Afghan Women (WAW). In 2011, Sunita Vishwanath co-founded Sadhna: Alliance of Progressive Hindus – a progressive Hindu movement aligned with social justice commitments against casteism and racism.

In 2015, she was honored as a White House “Champion of Change” for her work with Sadhna. In 2019, he co-founded Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a US-based advocacy organization that aims to promote religious pluralism in North America and South Asia.

In May 2021, Vishwanath was a named defendant in a defamation case filed by The American Hindu.