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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Apr 30, 2006

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Court Transcript Exposes HAF’s Fraudulent Press Releases

Oakland, California, Apr 30, 2006: A recently-released transcript from the Superior Court of California reveals that the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and its allies have misled the media and public about the proceedings during the court hearing on April 21, 2006. At that hearing, the Superior Court of California in Sacramento denied the Hindu American Foundation (HAF)'s demand for a preliminary injunction against the publication of new sixth-grade textbooks.

Yet in its press release dated April 24, 2006, the HAF claimed: "Judge Patrick Marlette stated that he was “troubled” by process followed by the SBE in adopting sixth grade social studies textbooks … “We are pleased that Judge Marlette agrees that the procedure followed thus far by the SBE in relation to Hindus is problematic,” said Suhag Shukla, Esq., legal counsel of HAF."

In a press release two days later (April 26, 2006), the HAF re-asserted: “[The HAF legal team is] pleased that the judge suggested the process followed by the SBE to be problematic,” said Ishani Chowdhury, Executive Director of HAF … Judge Marlette twice indicated that he was "troubled" by the process used to approve these texts.

However, the court reporter’s transcript of the ruling clearly contradicts the HAF’s claims. According to the transcript, the Judge ruled that ”The burden of proof is on the Petitioners, and based on what has been presented, I cannot find – I am not convinced that Petitioner has carried their burden to show the likelihood that they would succeed on the merits, particularly on this issue of the content.” In spite of the Judge’s failure to find merits at this preliminary phase, the HAF noted in its April 26, 2006 press release: “Some accounts report that the judge rejected HAF's claims ‘on the merits,’ when the judge never decided such a thing,” said Suhag Shukla, Esq., legal counsel of HAF.

Resolve before school year?

In its April 24, 2006 press release, the HAF also claimed: “Judge Marlette requested that the Hindu groups and the SBE confer to, among other things, provide a schedule to resolve this case before the textbooks in question are distributed this fall. For that reason, Judge Marlette denied the injunction in favor of a schedule that will bring this case to a resolution before the school year.” According to the hearing transcript, however, it was the HAF attorney Ms. Caplan who brought up this issue by asking: “You (sic) Honor, are you encouraging the parties to try to resolve this … before the text is printed for the school year?” To which the Judge replied: “If that can be resolved, then I think everybody’s interests are going to be served.

FOSA calls for the HAF to retract its fraudulent press releases and apologize to the community for its gross misrepresentations of the proceedings of April 21. We believe that the Hindu American Community deserves better than to be served by organizations whose ideological zeal blinds them to the distinction between fact and fiction. If, as it claims, the HAF really cares about Hindus, particularly Hindus in the United States, it must then abrogate all ties with the anti-minority, anti-dalit, and anti-women Hindu supremacist groups in the U.S. as well as those in India, and work to heal the hurt it has caused to the community through its attempts to distort and delay textbooks for California school children.
FOSA decries the HAF’s attempts to manipulate public opinion and believes that the HAF owes an explanation to the community of Journalists for its dishonest press releases. FOSA calls upon the Indo-American Press to investigate this issue further and demand accountability from the HAF, the HEF and the VF.
FOSA also cautions the community at large to beware of the HAF’s attempts to raise money for a suit that has been judged to be lacking in merit by the California Superior court. Indeed, the HAF’s latest fabrications must be understood in the context of the numerous setbacks suffered by the Hindutva forces in their attempts to doctor California state textbooks. As the court’s transcripts make it clear, the Judge did not urge any settlement between the two parties- yet, we are convinced that the HAF will attempt to enter into a compromise or a settlement with the SBE in order to salvage a minimal amount of credibility, without which the HAF and HEF’s similar future interventions stand to be defeated.



 
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