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Hindu appointed to Freedom Panel

Washington, May 24 (PTI): For the first time a person belonging to the Hindu community, Indian-American Preeta Bansal, has been appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Senate Majority leader Senator Thomas Daschle, appointed Harvard educated Bansal, who previously served in the Clinton Administration as a Special Counsel in the White House Counsel's office.

Bansal, who hails from Nebraska, also served in the Jutice Department and as a law clerk to the US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Recently she served as Solicitor General of New York.

Welcoming her appointment, President of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations Jayachand Pallakonda, said she has a good understanding of religious issues confronting South Asia, especially India, and that would "help her to be a strong voice to speak out against persecution of religious minorities there."

Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Federation J Prabhudoss, said he is looking forward to working with Bansal in highlighting such issues as the condition of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir as well as "plight of the Christian and Muslim populations at the hands of Hindutva ideologues in India."

This is the first time a Hindu has been appointed to the Commission, whose members are nominated by the legislative and executive branches. There had been complaints in the past that the Commission has members of the Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Bahai faiths but no Hindu.

News Update at 20.00 hrs (IST)

©Copyright 2003, The Hindu (India)

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