Day of Action protests across America culminate with Indian Americans pledging to safeguard India’s Constitution
WASHINGTON DC — The Coalition to Stop Genocide, a broad coalition of Indian Americans and US-based civil rights organisations and activists successfully held massive protests in multiple cities across the US as well as Toronto as part of a “Day of Action” on India’s Republic Day on Sunday, January 26.
The key objective of the protests was to demand the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India and to urge action by the US government in this regard. Every city where the protest was held reported huge crowds, including Chicago (5,000), New York (4,000), Washington, DC (3,000), Atlanta (2,000) and Bay Area, California (2,000).
In several cities, protesters had clearly come prepared with placards and banners calling for India to be pulled back from the brink of fascism. They came in buses, in cars, and on foot, and braved the cold to urge their government to take action against the purveyors of hate and bigotry.
David Fishman, a board member of the Holocaust Center of Nassau County, reminded the world community that the Nazis killed six million Jews in the Holocaust and warned that the world should not remain silent in India . “I am here with you because the events in India are dangerously reminiscent of the events in Germany in the 1930s . History repeats itself and those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat itself,” Fishman declared. He specifically condemned the Citizenship Anendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.
The Coalition to Stop Genocide includes dozens of organizations, including Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Equality Labs, Black Lives Matter (BLM), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR).
“According to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, whose birthday we just celebrated in the US, who was inspired by Gandhi, and whose words are as relevant now as they were during the days of the Vietnam War, ‘We are called to speak for the voiceless, for the victims of our Nation(s), for those it calls enemies, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers,” said Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of New York.
“The CAA makes an enemy of India’s own precious people damaging the pluralistic democracy that has existed since 1947 and has been such an inspiration to the world,” Dr. Breyer added.
“The CAA is an integral part of the Modi government’s strategy of creating a stateless Muslim population, that can be profiled, treated as second-class citizens, and imprisoned in massive detention centers already being built in India,” said Dalit rights activist and founder of Equality Labs, Ms. Thenmozhi Soundararajan.
“This project may start with Muslims but all caste-oppressed communities are at risk as we are the communities in the crosshairs of Hindu nationalists. We are marching in force globally to stand as a united diaspora to say to the Indian government stop the genocidal CAA. The time to stop genocide is before it starts,” added Ms. Soundararajan.
Sunita Vishwanat of Hindus for Human Rights condemned Hindutva ideology as a supremacist ideology. She denounced the lockdown in Kashmir and persecution of Muslims elsewhere in India.
The protesters in Washington, DC collected at the Ellipse on the south side of White House and then marched to the Indian Embassy, where Indian officials had barricaded the Gandhi statue. The embassy tried to drown out the sloganeering and speeches of the protesters by playing loud music.
“Since this administration of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, it has launched a relentless assault on India’s pluralist and secular ethos through an aggressive implementation of the Hindu nationalist and supremacist agenda espoused by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” said Khalid Ansari of the Indian American Muslim Council.
“The Coalition to Stop Genocide has pledged to join hands with allies in the US and around the world that are committed to justice and accountability in order to safeguard India’s pluralist ethos from the forces of hate and bigotry,” declared Dr Shaik Ubaid, one of the founders of the coalition in New York.
The Coalition to Stop Genocide has pledged to join hands with allies in the US and around the world that are committed to justice and accountability in order to safeguard India’s pluralist ethos from the forces of hate and bigotry.