Several Indian Diaspora organizations in the US showed their solidarity to the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), by the government of India, by holding rallies in several cities – Seattle (WA), Austin (TX), Dublin(OH), Houston(TX), and Raleigh (NC).
The rallies were aimed at dispelling the disinformation and myths surrounding the act as well as to counter the planned deliberate propaganda of hate, lies and downright absurdities spread by US-based Pakistanis and some Muslim and leftist organizations, according to a press release, by the organizers.
The Seattle rally was held on Dec. 21st at Victor Steinbrueck Park; Austin rally on Dec. 22nd near Capitol Building; Houston rally on Dec. 20th at Indian Consulate; Dublin rally on Dec. 22nd at Ted Kaltenbach Park; and the Raleigh rally on Dec. 22nd at Nash Square Park. Some more rallies are being planned in the coming weeks at Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Washington, DC, Atlanta, San Jose and other locations.
Archana Sunil, one of the organizers of the Seattle rally countering the anti-CAA rally by Indian American Muslim Council and other leftist organizations, at Victor Steinbrueck Park, noted, “The anti-CAA rally signs were stating lies about Muslims being discriminated in India, Indian Muslims needing to prove their citizenship, Modi being Hitler, CAA and NRC akin to genocide etc., .. they kept shouting, ‘azaadi azaadi .. hum azaadi leke rahenge’ and ‘Jai Hind’, but never said, ‘Bharata Mata ki Jai'”.
She further noted “when some of the anti-CAA rally came to talk to their group, it was mind boggling to see how much they are misinformed, they just absolutely did not want to talk facts or listen to facts. Our teenage volunteers were so informed and educated on this topic and those who opposed this act’s illiteracy on the topic is appalling.”
Achalesh Amar, spokesperson for Houston rally in support of CAA near Indian Consulate under the aegis of Friends of India Society (FISI) said, “the Houstonians came out in big numbers to support the Indian Government decision in bringing CAA to provide relief to oppressed minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Christians Parsis, Jains and Buddhists) in neighboring Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.”
He added, “instead of having civil debate based on facts some organizations are bent on subverting any discourse or the truth, by spreading completely absurd lies and what is lost in their discourse is the plight of those who suffered untold sufferings since partition of India.”
He added: “We need to reflect that in 1947 the percentage of Hindu/Sikh population in Pakistan was nearly 23% and today is about 1.5%, similarly in Bangladesh it was 30% Hindus in 1947, now reduced to about 10%. A casual perusal of facts of 1971 Bangladesh war show how Islamist militias killed nearly 3 million Hindus, raped anywhere between 200,000 to 300,000 almost all Bangladeshi Hindu women, internally displaced an estimated 30 million people and systematically attempted to purge any Hindu influence in Bangladesh. How can they not only just brush aside facts but actually invent total lies about it? The US government need to look into their views and the potential dangers they pose to Americans in our own country.”
Venugopal Uppala, one of the organizers of the rally in support of CAA, in front of Texas Capitol, in Austin, noted that the proposal to grant citizenship to those oppressed minorities was proposed by freedom fighters and politicians across many parties since India’s independence ( Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru in 1950, Bhupesh Gupta of Communist party in 1964, Gautan Deb of Communist party in 2010, Tarun Gogoi of Congress party from Assam and Prakash Karat of Communist party in 2012).
“How can anyone say that this is something to do with the BJP and its politics? People with the same mindset and kind of agenda as the oppressors in the Islamic countries are now in the forefront of this anti-CAA rallies and we felt we need to counter their blatant lies,” he said. “These ungrateful organizations are spreading such hate against Narendra Modi who is working day and night for all Indians irrespective of their religion, region and political beliefs. In fact, Narendra Modi government declared scholarships to 5 crore students from minority communities when many in majority are as poor as the poor among the minorities,” he said.
Vineet Goel, one of the organizers of Dublin Ohio rally, said, “We held this rally to counter the fear mongering of Islamic and leftist organizations about CAA and NRC, their bizarre statements that NRC in combination with CAA is designed to expel Muslims from India. Those who do not have the required paperwork have same challenges whether that person is a Hindu or Muslim and in spite of so many assurances from Modi government that every effort will be made to ease the process for every citizen, these organizations are bent on with the agenda of a ‘lie said thousand times will become the truth,’” he said.
Arvind Modhini, organizer for Raleigh rally where more than 75 eminent doctors and community leaders joined in support of CAA, noted how they are pained by the destruction caused by some Muslim groups with support of Congress party, reminding some of them of the partition days they lived through. He said they came together to “extend their support to Narendra Modi ji and demanded strict punishment to rampaging mobs who destroyed public property and targeted police personnel and not spare the mastermind behind these activities.”