In October last, the 55-year-old California senator had slammed the Indian government for Kashmir clampdown by commenting that Kashmiris were not alone in the world
NEW DELHI — After the news of Indian-origin Kamala Harris being nominated by Presidential candidate Joe Biden as his running mate surfaced, people, especially those from black and migrant communities in the US, reacted in a varied ways with many hailing her as the advocate of civil rights.
In India, the news of her Indian roots dominated the headlines. Several Indian leaders and civil society members from Shashi Tharoor to Prashant Bhushan posted tweets about her nomination. Her father is a Jamaican and the mother hails from Tamil Nadu in India. After her parents divorced, she stayed with her mother. Harris was born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley.
People also dug out her statements on Kashmir saying that her win might mean a greater global advocacy on Kashmir.
Kamala Harris spoke up well before Warren did in opposition to India’s annexation of Kashmir.
She stood up forcefully for Rep Jayapal whom Jaishankar tried to bully.
She is the opposite of RSS apparatchik Tulsi Gabbard & RSS adjacent Susan Rice.
A great choice by @JoeBiden.
— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) August 11, 2020
In October last, the 55-year-old California senator had slammed the Indian government for the Kashmir clampdown by commenting that Kashmiris were not alone in the world. “There is a need to intervene if the situation demands,” she had said.
She had also criticized Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s decision to not meet Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal after she advocated for Kashmir. “It’s wrong for any foreign government to tell Congress what members are allowed in meetings on Capitol Hill,” Harris had stated.
Muslims of India also see her nomination positively as she is likely to support the advocacy on the rights of Indian Muslims. Biden, who picked Harris, had expressed his disappointment over CAA which was passed by the Indian government in December against the wishes of its 200 million Muslims. He had also urged India to restore the rights of Kashmiris.
Senator @KamalaHarris congrats on your nomination. I hope you will take this moment to push to defund the police domestically, fight for the dignity of working people, and speak against the increasing violence, bigotry, and ongoing arrest of dissident voices in India by BJP govt.
— Suchitra Vijayan (@suchitrav) August 11, 2020
The decision to nominate Harris was endorsed by Barnie Sanders, one of the most prominent vocal advocates of civil rights in the US political divide. His statements on Kashmir last September were widely hailed for their clarity, though evoking sharp reactions in India.
According to Michael Kugelman, a political analyst in the US who frequently comments on south Asian affairs, after Sanders, Harris said more in support of Kashmir than any of the original 2020 presidential candidates.” He, however, added that she was a strong proponent of India-US relations.
Harris was initially in the race to the presidency but by the end of 2019, she withdrew from the candidature, citing lack of financial resources.
According to a PTI report citing CRW Strategy Research, around 1.3 million Indian-Americans are expected to vote in this year’s election, with nearly 200,000 in battleground states like Pennsylvania and 125,000 in Michigan.