The censure of the hate parade by Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker from New Jersey came a day after the meeting of the IAMC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations-New Jersey (CAIR-NJ), and the American Muslims for Democracy (AMD) with the two senators’ offices.
NEW JERSEY – A joint statement from US Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker from New Jersey against a hate parade held by Hindu supremacists on August 14 in the state vindicated the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a US-based organisation dedicated to human rights, social justice, and pluralism. The organisations welcomed the statement that unequivocally condemned the event.
The censure of the hate parade by Senators Menendez and Booker came after the meeting of the IAMC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations-New Jersey (CAIR-NJ), and the American Muslims for Democracy (AMD) with the two senators’ offices on Friday. The organisations had made an appeal to the senators to publicly condemn the display of a bulldozer at the August 14 parade.
“This week, our offices met with leaders and members of New Jersey’s South Asian community who were angered and deeply hurt by the inclusion of a bulldozer in the India Day Parade in Edison last month,” read the joint statement from US Senators.
“The bulldozer,” the statement pointed out, “has come to be a symbol of intimidation against Muslims and other religious minorities in India, and its inclusion in this event was wrong.”
The US senators further said through the statement that New Jersey was, “proudly home to some of the most diverse communities in the nation, including one of the largest South Asian communities, and all ethnic and religious groups have a right to live without intimidation or fear.”
Minhaj Khan, an IAMC leader, said: “We met officials of Senators Menendez and Booker and informed them that Hindu supremacist governments in India were deploying the bulldozer to terrorise the Muslim community by demolishing their homes, businesses, and mosques out of vendetta and sheer Islamophobia. We are happy that Senators Menendez and Booker have recognized the hate in that parade.”
The parade was organised by IBA and prominently featured Sambit Patra, a national spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) known to spew anti-Muslim hatred on daily prime-time shows on TV for the ruling party, as the parade’s grand marshall. In addition, leaders of the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), registered as foreign agents, were also present at the parade, confirming the IBA’s connections with India’s Hindu supremacists.
The parade, called to mark India’s Independence Day, featured a bulldozer with pictures of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, whose government has criminally and illegally used the bulldozer to demolish mosques, businesses, and homes of Muslims human rights defenders and protesters who have dared to criticise or challenge his anti-democratic policies.
The Uttar Pradesh government – as well as governments in Assam and Madhya Pradesh states, which, too, are ruled by Modi’s and Adityanath’s BJP – have used bulldozers to demolish Muslim-owned properties without following due process of law or securing court orders, or even serving a notice on the owners of the properties.
Multiple officials and organisations have already condemned the bulldozer parade. They include US Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ); New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (Chair, Joint Asian Pacific American Caucus); New Jersey Sen. Vin Gopal (Vice Chair, Joint Asian Pacific American Caucus); New Jersey Assemblywomen Shama Haider, Sadaf Jaffer and Ellen Park; Edison Mayor Sam Joshi; Woodbridge Mayor John McMorcac; Edison Council President Joseph Coyle; Edison Council Vice-President Joyce Ship-Freeman; Edison Councilwoman Margot Harris; Edison Councilmen John Poyner, Richard Brescher and Nishith Patel; the National Alliance for the Advancement of the Colored People (NAACP); Black Lives Matter; American Muslims for Democracy; Hindus for Human Rights; Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR); and Indian American Muslim Council.
The IAMC has urged the US Department of Justice to investigate IBA and OFBJP for their connections with India’s Hindu supremacists and involvement in hate speech and crimes in the US.