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Chicago’s anti-India, anti-CAA resolution defeated after fight by Indian community

Chicago: Indian Americans across the USA celebrated the defeat of a Chicago resolution sponsored by city councilor of 49th ward Maria Hadden and backed by Council of Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization with dubious records.

Resolution R2020-583 proposed by the Chicago City Council classified the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in December 2019 as discriminatory.

Dubbed “the sugar coated cyanide pill” by Chicago Indian Americans, the resolution started off by congratulating India for its democracy and Independence Day but soon moved to vicious and denigrating clauses.

In an 8 month long battle the Indian American community pulled all stops to counter the apparent lies that the organization behind the maneuver, CAIR, was spreading around to clueless Councilors.

Excited and relieved Indian Americans’ efforts paid off when 26 Councilors voted against the resolution, saying we have more pressing things closer home to take care of. Only 18 voted for it, ensuring that the resolution was soundly defeated and not tabled again.

“Instead of caring for her own 49th ward, an approximately 10 Square kilometer area Maria Hadden is spending all her time in a symbolic and non-binding resolution that is bent on scolding India, the sole democracy and refuge for persecuted peoples in that part of the world,” said Amitabh Mittal who heads the Indo US Friendship Council in Chicago.

“Indian Americans are busy contributing to the American economy as doctors and engineers and Space scientists. They are too busy to be aware of either the CAA or the fact that Progressive Left members of the Democrat City Councils are tabling these resolutions,” said Vandana Jhingan to a TV Channel that interviewed her recently.

“The resolution is called “symbolic” and “non-binding” and contains many inaccuracies based on misstated allegations by vested parties. However, it has repercussions not on India but the Indian Americans in the USA, who have suffered hate crimes recently in cities like Seattle and in California. They also face the consequence of a divided community and the prospect of a factually incorrect resolution staying in the city’s historical records,” said Bharat Barai, an oncologist and stalwart of the Indian American Community for the past 40 years in Chicago. The 8 month long fight was supported by elders like him who served as guiding spirits uplifting the volunteers.

Independent of the volunteers, the Indian Consul General Amit Kumar also worked in his own capacity, approaching the sponsoring group of city councilors, educating them on the oft maligned and misquoted Indian laws like CAA and Article 370 and Farm Laws.

Unfortunately about 7 cities have passed these nefarious resolutions sneakily, behind closed doors under the quiet of the COVID 19 crisis. A big fight was put up in Seattle and St. Paul but these cities passed the resolution despite knowing the facts on the matter, clearly indicating political machinations.

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Call for federal probe to investigate funding of sponsors of Chicago resolution against CAA

Chicago: Dr. Bharat Barai, chairman, US-India Friendship Council called for a Federal Justice Department investigation into the role of Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR).

CAIR has announced that they have sponsored the City of Chicago Resolution R2020-583 which is being introduced by 49th Ward Alderman Maria Hadden. 

Resolution R2020-583 proposed by the Chicago City Council classifies the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in December 2019 as discriminatory because it uses religion-based criteria to grant citizenship.

“The flow of Middle Eastern money to CAIR which is influencing US elections and fund such hate resolutions in cities like Chicago, need to be condemned. The funds of a not-for-profit organization should not be used for partisan politics or hateful extremist religious agenda,” added Dr. Barai.

United Indian American Community of Chicago’s Sohan P Joshi appealed to all the Chicago Aldermen not to sow seeds of hate among the Indian American community. Joshi said that Chicago Resolution R 2020- 583 effectively divides Indian American community on religious lines.

“We Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Aga Khanis want to continue to be united and live together peacefully in Chicago,” added Joshi.

Leontine Horn, senior community activist of 49th Ward Chicago said that 49th Ward Alderman Maria Hadden did not consult her residents on this hate resolution. Horn said that she wants the world to know that residents of 49th ward are not haters but a peace-loving inclusive community.

Amitabh Mittal, secretary, US India Friendship Council said that the City of Chicago has never ever introduced a resolution on the internal affairs of any country. This Chicago City resolution targeting India, the world’s largest democracy is uncalled for.

Nirav Patel, president of Asian American Store Owners Association with membership of over 2,600 retail storeowners in the state of Illinois, said that the resolution R2020-583  introduced by 49th Ward Alderman Maria Hadden is erroneous and parts of the resolution are not factual.  He added that Alderman Maria Hadden has introduced a resolution which is full of hate against India and contains misleading, false statements.

Urvashi Butt, a social worker Resident of 49th Ward said that Alderman Maria Hadden has many issues in our ward, which are not being attended to. For example, the need for a crosswalk for seniors across the senior residence building at 6400 North Sheridan and other senior buildings in the Ward. Butt asked Alderman Maria Hadden to attend to 49 ward resident’s problems instead of introducing a hate resolution about India which is 10,000 miles away and where she and the city of Chicago has no mandate whatsoever.

Community leaders of City of Chicago and residents of 49th Ward including Harender Mangrola, Vijender Doma, Major Rakesh Asthana, Alli Dhanara,  Nilabh Dubey, Rani Yousefzai among others expressed their pain and anguish about this hate resolution citing the recent Asian-American hate violence in Atlanta.

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Lessons from the 2020 presidential election

By Vibhuti Jha 

Executive Director & Board of Director, Nalanda International 

The election is over, but the results are yet to be certified despite record breaking voter participation by the American people. The enthusiasm crossed party lines, with both candidates scoring highest ever votes.

There is so much to talk about as learning lessons from the 2020 elections. From the Indian American point of view I will list a few of my thoughts so that we make sure we do something about them to be a stronger alternative as a community instead of having our scattered strength! If Indians need to be counted, then let’s not repeat the mistakes again!

  1. Hindus have no institutional backing or support – we create sporadic groups but the existing organizations are virtually impotent. Look at CAIR or Indian American Muslim Council – they run repeated political initiatives but the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) or the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) refrain from political postures and virtually end up doing nothing. It’s important for organizations such as these to ensure the minority Hindu voices are not only heard but protected as well.
  2. Reportedly 72% Indian Americans voted for Democrats. We Indians are not clear why we vote almost en bloc for Democrats. It would be better to have an internal dialogue as to what is important for us as a community or do we just give in to emotional whims and fancies of a few? Some elements believe that all that matters is a pro-immigration stand by the Democrats to “bag” the Indian vote! It ends up being a pathetic sell-out for “immigration”.

  1. Hindus must look at the statement that Muslim organizations have made; they said, “we don’t want to be forgotten after vote is over, we want equal seat at the table”. You got to applaud their clear vision! They have a strategy to remain relevant and stay engaged! We Hindus have none! I have said on my TV programs that Hindus face existential threat not because 1.3 billion people will vaporize overnight but because we will not be relevant to anyone despite being useful – we will remain professionals available for a fee for a designated purpose only!!

  1. We wake up too late and end up wailing and crying at the supposed “injustices” meted out to us since other groups negotiated better outcomes for themselves. Let’s look forward to 2022 and 2024 to ensure we get engaged with the political process of this country.

  1. The elections in five battleground states of PA, WI, NV, MI and GA are going through challenges in the judicial process. We will have to await the outcomes. It’s amazing the election process as we are witnessing today was envisaged by the Founding Fathers provided for such exigencies in the Constitution. Candidate  Trump is taking advantage of the provisions to ensure all legal votes are counted.

  1. At long last we seem to have a vaccine against Wuhanvirus! Now we also must investigate thoroughly who really created it to cause millions of cases and deaths, trillions of dollars vaporized from the economies all over the world, lives changed, social customs and cultures destroyed, permanent disappearance of many traditional jobs and employment scenarios! The guilty must be punished and there has to be a clear accountability for this unmitigated disaster.

Times have changed, we better get ready for the change !

Happy Diwali to all readers of The South Asian Times.

thesatime | The Southasian times

Vibhuti Jha 

Executive Director & Board of Director, Nalanda International 

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HAF leads campaign against anti-India motion by a city council in Minnesota

Washington: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) launched a letter writing campaign to oppose a deeply flawed and error-laden resolution proposed by the St. Paul City Council in Minnesota. The symbolic resolution denounces what it calls the “Islamophobic ideology” of the Modi government.  Lead sponsor Council Member Jane Prince  worked on the resolution with the Minnesota chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Thanks to HAF’s activism, the City Council has been inundated with over 12,000 letters opposing RES 20-712 and requesting the city council to table it or vote NO. Numerous locally spearheaded coalition letters from the Indian and Hindu American communities also called out the inaccuracies and divisive impact of the council’s actions.

HAF also sent a formal letter to council members to educate them on the horrific human rights conditions that many religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have fled.

Another fact-check of RES 20–712 was submitted on May 12, 2020 to the St. Paul City Council by a coalition of 27 prominent leaders from Minnesota’s Indian American community. It provides corrections, clarifications, and context to numerous inaccuracies in the City Council’s ill-advised proposed draft resolution on India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, and highlights the hostile environment the City Council has created for Minnesotans of Indian origin by hastily and irresponsibly wading into a subject on which it lacks expertise, let alone basic understanding.

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