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Indian Americans in New York protest 'celebration' of Babri demolition on Aug 5

By Our Representative

The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India, a broad network of Indian Americans and US based civil rights organizations and activists, organized a rally at the Times Square in New York on August 5, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bhomi poojan of the Ram Temple, calling the event in Ayodhya as “celebration of the destruction of the Babri Mosque in India.”
Protesters held placards and chanted slogans to highlight what they called “massive human rights abuses” in India by the BJP government led by Modi. " Ram is a revered figure in Hinduism, and respect for all religions is part of our commitment to pluralism," said Jawad Mohammed, general secretary of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), whose members participated in large numbers.
"However”, he regretted, “People's reverence for Ram has been manipulated in order to serve a vile and hateful agenda whose evil fruits are evident not only across India but now increasingly in the US as well." New York protest was in sharp contrast to virtually no protests in India against the Ram Temple celebration on August 5 at Ayodhya -- except a few civil society statements
"We learn in the Ramayana that Lord Rama's birthplace is Ayodhya. However, our scripture does not specify where in Ayodhya Lord Rama was born. The reality is that the Ram Temple issue was leveraged by Hindutva forces to polarize Indian society in a destructive campaign that has resulted in untold human suffering and that continues to this day."said Sunita Vishwanath, president of the Hindus for Human Right, another group at the rally.
“Sadly, far-right extremists in both India and the United States have especially taken to demonizing and denigrating Muslims. I condemn any attack on an individual or group because of their faith and stand with my Muslim siblings here in my district and in India as they fight for dignity and human rights,” said New York City Council member Daniel Dromm, present on the occasion.
"Islamophobia has escalated to the level of ethnic cleansing in numerous countries, including India. From lynchings, to pogroms, to the cultural genocide exemplified by the establishment of a temple on the site of a demolished mosque, anti-Muslim bigotry is government policy in India,” said Nihad Awad National Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
"The Muslim world and the international community must unite in opposition to the far-right Modi government before its fascist, Nazi-inspired ideology causes further damage to religious minorities," Awad added.
Brad Lander, another New York City council member, said, “We all have a responsibility for speaking out against Islamophobia, whether it comes from our country, or even our own community.” Mr. Lander further added, “As a New Yorker, and as a progressive Jew, I stand with our Muslim neighbors, here in NYC and those in Kashmir and throughout India who are facing nationalist and Islamophobic hatred and violence.”
"Political Hinduism is not a religious issue, it's a class issue and final victory is possible by uniting the workers, peasants and the socially oppressed sections. Today's protest in New York has brought various sections together to challenge the Hindutva project" said S Karthikeyan of Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC).
“The celebration of Ram temple by the Hindutva brigade and its Indian-American followers is a celebration of power: the power to hate and hurt with impunity, to aggressively gloat over Indian Muslims and others who cherish our pluralistic society” said Ania of Coalition against Fascism in India (CAFI). “Choosing August 5 to celebrate is a new act of aggression against the Kashmiris. We reject this cynical use of religion to entrench hate and kill India democracy” she added.

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