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Organisers Apologise for Divisive Bulldozer at New Jersey I-Day Parade

Date:

Clarion India

NEW DELHI – After facting backlash for bringing a bulldozer to parade of Independence Day in two New Jersey towns, the Indian Business Association (IBA) apologised for the incident, calling it “a divisive image that did not reflect our mission”. 

In a letter addressed to the mayor of the two neighbouring towns in which the parade passed through on 14 August, Chandrakant Patel, chair of the IBA, wrote that he was writing to “offer his sincere apologies for certain aspects of our 2022 Indian Independence Day Parade that reflected poorly on our organisation and offended the Indian American minority groups, especially Muslims, from the local area, and across the state and country”.

The bulldozer was decorated with posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who has earned the nickname “Bulldozer Baba” over his extensive use of excavators against Muslims.

Since Modi took power in 2014, bulldozers have become a symbol of anti-Muslim and anti-minority hate, with authorities using them to demolish the homes of activists, particularly Muslim activists, under the pretext of the structures being illegal. The practice has drawn the ire of both the UN and international human rights groups.

“Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission,” the letter addressed to Edison Mayor Samip Joshi and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, said.

“The parade should be and has always been about a celebration of our Indian heritage and inclusion and diversity among our many different cultures and religions,” the letter read.

“Our parade should never be about politics and should never include these blatant divisive symbols.”

Indian Muslims across the country have been outraged over the past two weeks after video footage emerged showing the inclusion of a bulldozer at the rally celebrating India’s 75th Independence Day.

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