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Indian Americans raise $3.3mn, want Biden to soften on CAA, Kashmir

Washington: Indian Americans raised $3.3 million on a single night for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden while pressing his campaign to moderate its positions on Kashmir and the India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well as add an agenda for the Hindu community on its web platform.

Around $2mn was written in by “big donors” and $1.3mn came in from smaller donors, said Ramesh Kapur, a member of the Biden-Harris National Finance Committee 2020, who participated in Tuesday night’s fundraiser, adding he believed this was a record amount raised by the community at any single-night fundraiser.

Biden acknowledged that this was because of Kamala Harris, his running mate, Kapur told the Hindustan Times.

The virtual fundraiser, which followed Biden’s interaction with a handful of Indian Americans such as Kapur, was attended by over 200 people and headlined by Dr Vivek Murthy, the former US Surgeon General, who is among those the community is pushing for a cabinet position in a Biden administration.

Some Indian Americans also took the opportunity to press Biden on his campaign’s position on Kashmir, CAA and the “lack of equal treatment” of Hindus, who don’t have a dedicated section on the campaign platform.

The negative comments on Kashmir and CAA in the campaign platform’s  segment on Muslim Americans have been seen by many in the Indian American community as an egregious overreach, tantamount to interference in the internal affairs of another country. For example, Sunil Puri, who was on the commission on Asian Americans in the  Obama administration, has publicly and privately pushed the campaign to “moderate” its position. He said he cautioned Biden against taking the Indian community for granted.

The 1.8 million Indian American voters are being wooed aggressively by both Biden and Trump campaigns, especially in the battleground states.  While most of them lean Democratic, according to the Indiaspora-AAPI poll, many feel aggrieved on account of Biden’s Kashmir and CAA positions despite his repeated assurances that relations with India will get “high priority” in his administration.

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