New Indian American group to organize events in US to help prevent hate crimes

Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, is shown in closed circuit TV in court from the Johnson County detention center as Purinton heads towards a room with his public defender, Michelle R. Durrett (L) during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool

NEW YORK: A group of Indian Americans have launched a new umbrella group in Chicago to launch a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the Indian Diaspora in the United States – the intrinsic part they pay in contributing to society and the economy, and subsequently to help cut down hate crimes against the community: Indian-American Public Affairs Committee (IAPAC).

IAPAC touts itself as a bipartisan and grassroots organization to advocate and safeguard the India-US relationship and the interests of Indian Americans.

“There is a need to bring understanding about the people of Indian-origin and represent their interests,” Ashwani Dhall, one of the founding members of the IAPAC, said in a statement.

IAPAC hopes to spread the word about how Indian Americans have been an intrinsic part of the American fabric for more than 100 years, according to a statement.

The core feature of the initiative would be events organized by the IAPAC in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.

“By bringing together elected officials, local and business leaders and the media, the aim is to assure the Indian-American community that incidents like the hate-crime in Kansas City are not tolerated or repeated,” the statement said.

IAPAC wants to ensure that correct information about any existing policies is disseminated to people and there is no room left for rumors, it said.

“It was heartening to hear President Donald Trump denounce the Kansas City incident right at the start of his address to the Congress,” said Vinesh Virani, president of IAPAC. “We have hope that the current administration will work to bring everyone together.”

He added: “We are a group of people of Indian-origin who are doctors, small business owners, hoteliers, IT professionals, executives, essentially people from all fields, who had been closely involved in the local politics during last year’s general elections.”

Though IAPAC has not termed itself as a political committee, it seems to be on the lines of the Israeli American Political Action Committee, which also is one of the biggest lobbying groups on Capitol Hill.

Though it’s a much-needed initiative, the effect of the events organized by IAPAC remains to be seen.

The racist attacks against the Indian community have been in pockets all over the country. It’s highly unlikely that the events by IAPAC are going to be attended by white nationalist groups or their members, the followers and those influenced by such groups who are likely perpetrators of hate attacks.

It’s important that local Indian American groups all over the US follow the same initiative by IAPAC and create more awareness in their local communities.




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