US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Challenged for RSS Association

Protesters chant “RSS Raja Must Go” outside congressman’s Chicagoland office

The last time that I was here at Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s office was in 2018.

I sat down inside his conference room with his staff to express concern about the congressman’s plans to attend a local event organized by the VHP. The VHP is an Indian organization which, also in 2018, the CIA had labeled as a “religious militant” outfit. Of course, Raja being a member of the House Intelligence Committee, perhaps he already knew that.

What’s more, this VHP event in 2018 featured the chief of the RSS as its keynote speaker.

The VHP is actually a subsidiary organization of the RSS. The RSS is a nearly one hundred year old paramilitary which, from its origins, drew structural inspiration from Mussolini’s fascists and ideological inspiration from the Nazis. Today, the RSS and its subsidiaries boast upwards of 15 million militant members.

The RSS is devoted to eradicating all religious minorities from India and turning the country into a theocratic State. Hell-bent on smothering India with its religious nationalist ideology, the RSS has a LONG track-record of EXTREME anti-minority violence.

We’re talking lynchings. We’re talking targeted assassinations — for instance, the RSS assassinated Gandhi. We’re talking terrorist bombings — in fact, the chief of the RSS who spoke here in Chicago in 2018 is implicated in personally sanctioning an anti-Muslim bombing that killed dozens. We’re also talking pogroms, massacres, sustained multi-day systematic slaughter in the streets of thousands of Christians, Muslims, and even Sikhs.

Sitting in Raja’s office in 2018, I explained that, if he shared the stage with the chief of the RSS, it placed him in the position of standing shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with the world’s oldest, largest, and fastest growing fascist movement. His staff listened patiently. And then Raja went ahead and attended the event anyways.

Now, most would argue that once is already far, far too many times when it comes to speaking alongside fascists, but Raja did not stop at once.

A year later, in 2019, he himself was the keynote speaker, this time at an event organized by the international wing of the RSS to celebrate the founding of that fascist paramilitary. He was pictured on stage in front of a photo of the RSS’s longest-serving chief, a man who, as its ideological father, is a primary reason that the paramilitary is accurately described as Nazi-inspired.

I won’t detail everything about that ideology right now, but one thing I’ll tell you is that this former RSS chief in front of whose photo Raja spoke had, in 1939, right before the outbreak of the Second World War, praised Nazi Germany for “purging” the country of Jews, applauded that as “race pride manifested at its highest,” and called it a good model for India to follow.

Well, today, India actually is beginning to follow that model.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a lifelong RSS member who, before he took office, was actually banned from America because of his involvement in an anti-Muslim massacre that left thousands of men, women, and children dead in the streets. Since 2014, Modi has ruled India and, progressively but with escalating speed, worked to transform the world’s second-largest democracy into a fascist dictatorship.

Under the Modi regime, the existential threat to religious minorities has grown so great that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum currently ranks India the second-most likely country in the world to see a genocide break out.

Just last month, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar pressed the State Department, demanding to know why the Biden administration remains silent on the human rights crisis in India. Well, that’s a great question, but there’s no quick and easy answer. However, if one were to ask why Raja Krishnamoorthi remains silent, here’s an answer.

It’s his donors.

When Raja first ran for Congress in 2016, before he made a bit of a name for himself and got what he thinks is an iron grip on his seat, some of his earliest, most enthusiastic, and most generous donors were leaders in American affiliates of the RSS who had just returned from working in India to get Modi elected.

Yes. The RSS has affiliated organizations here in America. And yes, many members of those organizations, despite most being US citizens, traveled from America to India to campaign to get Modi elected. After they succeeded, they worked here in Chicago to get Raja Krishnamoorthi elected.

Let me say it again. Some of Raja’s oldest, largest, and most faithful donors are people who serve as leaders in US affiliates of a fascist paramilitary organization in India. These people first worked to get Modi elected, and then worked to get Raja elected.

Well, now, Modi’s regime is on the verge of perpetrating a genocide. And yet, there’s not a peep from Raja. Why?

Raja’s very vocal, thankfully, about the US Capitol siege of January 2021. But after Modi’s regime staged a pogrom in Delhi, the capital of India, in February 2020, Raja spoke not a word. That’s surprising considering that he’s personally met Modi at least three times, including traveling to India for an audience with the prime minister within just his first six months in office.

Raja’s very vocal, thankfully, about Russian foreign interference in our elections. But when Trump joined Modi on stage at a 2019 reception in Houston, and Modi turned to Trump and publicly endorsed him for re-election, Raja spoke not a word. That’s surprising considering Raja was actually there on stage at the time — along with Modi and Trump.

Raja’s very vocal, thankfully, about domestic extremism in America. White supremacy, of course, is the top domestic terror threat here. And yet, the RSS has actually been an inspiration for white supremacist terrorism. Perhaps the most lethal white supremacist terrorist, Anders Breivik of Norway, who massacred 77 people and has himself inspired countless copycats around the world, specifically praised the RSS for its violent xenophobia and insisted that white supremacists should learn from and collaborate with the RSS as much as possible.

But Raja has not spoken a word against the RSS.

Instead, he has shared the stage with the chief of the RSS, keynoted an event celebrating the RSS’s founding, and lined his campaign coffers with tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars from leaders and members of American affiliates of the RSS. And much more.



Friedrich is a freelance journalist and analyst of South Asian affairs. Learn more about him at

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Pieter Friedrich

Friedrich is a freelance journalist and analyst of South Asian affairs. Learn more about him at