Monday, March 5, 2012

Indian Americans Demand Action Against Modi for Muslim Genocide By Shaikh Saad -

Indian Americans Demand Action Against Modi for Muslim Genocide

By Shaik Saad

Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 17:03:33 - IST (UTC +5:30)
New York: Coalition of Indian American NGO's "Coalition Against Genocide" (CAG) demanded Narendra Modi's arrest in case of anti Muslim riots in Gujarat and compensation to the victims. CAG also vowed to fight Hindutva ideology in the US. Rally and Candle Light Vigil in New York on the 10th Anniversary of Anti-Muslim Gujarat Pogrom. Jewish Leader Criticizes AJC for Giving Award to Advani. Rallies held in 9 other cities by CAG affiliated organizations

CAG, the broad-based alliance that was instrumental in getting the diplomatic visa of Narendra Modi revoked, for his role in Gujarat pogrom, organized a successful rally and candle light vigil in New York City.

Hundreds of Indian-Americans of diverse religious backgrounds gathered to remember the victims of the anti-Muslim pogrom in front of the Gandhi statue in Union Square on March 3rd, 2012. It was raining all morning, but just before the rally began, the ominous clouds cleared. Though the balmy 55 F made it feel like a beautiful spring evening rather than winter, the mood of the rally remained somber.

They had gathered to remember the victims of a carnage that was unleashed on the Muslims of the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002. More than 2,000 were brutally killed, 500 women and little girls raped, and 150,000 people were ethnically cleansed in the spring of 2002 in the well-planned pogrom in the Indian state of Gujarat.

"We want Gandhi's Gujarat NOT Modi's Gujarat," they chanted, pointing to the statue of Mohandas Gandhi, the founder of modern India.

The rally was addressed by not only Indian American leaders but by well-known American religious leaders and human rights activists.

Dr. Hillel Levine, the founder of Center for International Conciliation, prayed for the victims of pogrom. He defined a pogrom and said that the state-orchestrated violence in Gujarat was a pogrom. Drawing on the history of Jewish suffering, he criticized the American Jewish Committee's award to L.K.Advani. Advani and Modi both represent, according to him, an ideology of hatred and intolerance. He demanded that the AJC take the award back.

Rev. Mark Lukens, the President of The Interfaith Alliance, Long Island Chapter, spoke against all kinds of discrimination including racism in America and Islamophobia. He spoke eloquently about the legacy of Gandhi and of how Modi has tarnished it.

Joe Lombardo, the national co-chair of United National antiwar Coalition, pledged to work with Coalition Against Genocide, and vowed not only to get justice for the victims of Gujarat but also to fight the infiltration of Hindutva-fascists in the US power centers. He thanked Muslim Peace Coalition USA and Desis Rising Up and Moving for their fight against discrimination in the US.

Al-Haj Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, an African American imam who heads the umbrella body of New York area Muslims known as the Islamic Leadership Council, stated that the movement that killed Gandhi and tens of thousands of Muslims and Christians will not be allowed to flourish in the US. He drew parallels between the civil rights movement in the US and the movement by Indian minorities and Dalits and predicted that truth shall overcome. He thanked the inter-faith allies for their stand against the New York police department's surveillance of the area Muslim communities.

Biju Mathew, one of the founding members of Coalition Against Genocide, vowed to continue the struggle till Hindutva-fascism is completely defeated. He announced the upcoming launch of a campaign to obtain justice for the victims of the pogrom. He exhorted the attendees to contact their congresspersons and urge them to support the resolution about the Gujarat pogrom that was presented in the US House of Representatives by congressman Keith Ellison the day before.

Dr. Shaik Ubaid, another founding member of the coalition pointed out that the coalition is expanding and that more American interfaith and civil rights leaders and groups are supporting it. This will help defeat the Hindutva ideology in the US and offer vital moral support to the pluralist forces in India. He advised the supporters of Narendra Modi in the US to abandon their support of Modi and Hindutva ideology and thus redeem themselves and the image of India. He explained that as long as Modi remains a persona nongrata in the US, his dream of becoming India's prime minister will remain derailed and it will be easier for him to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Biju Mathew and Dr. Shaik Ubaid were given the Lincoln-Gandhi-King Award by the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area Indian Americans for their role in launching the Coalition Against Genocide to fight for pluralism and justice and to keep Narendra Modi out of the US. The other speakers named them "The Men Who Defeated Narendra Modi."

Bhairavi Desai, the leader of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, and Svati Shah of South Asia Solidarity Forum, both Gujarati Hindu women, said “We want Gandhi’s Gujarat, not Modi’s Gujarat”. They agreed with a later speaker, Saeed Patel, a Muslim from Gujarat, that the Gujarat pogrom is a stigma and a mark of shame for Gujarat and India. Alex Koshi, a commissioner with Rev. Martin Luther King commission in New Jersey, Habeeb Ahmed, a human rights commissioner with the Nassau county, Juned Qazi of Indian National Overseas Congress, Yusuf Dadani of Indian American Muslim Council, Silky Shah and Bhumika Moochala of Gujarati ancestary, Azhar Bhatt of Muslim Peace Coalition, USA and Dr. Satinath Choudhry, a Dalit leader, were among the other speakers.

The rally was followed by a candle-light vigil, the candles representing the lives of all the victims of Gujarat pogroms that were violently snuffed out.

It was rush hour in Union Square and thousands of passers by stopped and picked up the flyers about Gujarat pogrom.

Similar vigil and rallies were held in ten cities across the US by organizations that are members of the
Coalition Against Genocide

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