Dividing image: Indian Business Association apologizes for inclusion of Bulldozer in its India Day Parade at Edison

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The Indian Business Association, organizer of the India Day Parade in Edison, New Jersey, apologized for the inclusion of a bulldozer in its 18th annual parade earlier this month. In a letter to Edison Mayor Samip “Sam” Joshi and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, IBA President Chandrakant Patel said the organization is sorry for “certain aspects” of the parade. “which reflected poorly on our organization and offended Native American minority groups, especially Muslims, in the local area and throughout the state and country. He went on to say that “the parade should be and always has been a celebration of our Indian heritage and inclusion and diversity among our many cultures and religions”.

The parade, held August 14 on Oak Tree Road, covering Woodbridge and Edison townships, included a bulldozer, which symbolizes the demolition of Muslim properties in India. The bulldozer was decorated with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. A banner saying “Baba ka Bulldozer” was seen next to Adityanath’s picture. National BJP spokesperson Dr. Sambit Patra was the grand marshal of the parade.

The letter further noted that the “dividing image” does not reflect IBA’s mission, but admitted that it had offended many people affected by the events unfolding in India, as well as those who attended the parade. or have heard of it. IBA did not intend to offend anyone by the symbol or the comments of its guest speakers, the letter states. “Our parade should never be political and should never include these blatant symbols of division. Our parade should recognize us as South Asians living in two of the best cities in the country. »

Patel also promised on behalf of the IBA that he “will not allow these symbols in the future and that he will work with all the different South Asian heritage groups to ensure our parade remains the best of State”.

The Indian American Muslim Council shared the letter on its social media, noting that “anti-Muslim hatred is not welcome in America.” He also reiterated his call for a government investigation into the role played by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and OFBJP-USA in interfering with Edison’s parade.

Last week, Joshi issued a statement acknowledging that the bulldozer was being used as “a symbol of division and discrimination”. In a statement sent to American Kahani, he stressed that although the parade is “independently organized and not a township-sponsored event, any symbol or action that represents discrimination is not welcome in the township. of Edison because we are committed to celebrating and working in harmony with people of all cultures. He assured that his office will work with stakeholders “to ensure that celebrations in the future serve the best interests of our community.

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The mayor’s statement came after an August 19 meeting with members of New Jersey’s major civil rights organizations, including the New Jersey chapter of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights, the chapter of the New Jersey from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), Black Lives Matter (BLM) and American Muslims for Democracy (AMD). Previously, some of these groups, including ADRIC and HfHR, had sent a letter to Joshi and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac condemning the inclusion, calling the bulldozer “a symbol of Muslim home demolitions in India”.

At a press conference held after the meeting, the groups demanded immediate investigation and legal action by the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation against Friends Overseas. of the BJP and the IBA, according to a press from the IAMC. Release. Additionally, they urged the Secretary of State “to intervene to immediately revoke the Patra visa.”

Representatives for the groups noted in the press release that they had met with attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office “to file a lawsuit against the parade organizers.” and had “filed charges with the Edison Police Department against the IBA and requested a police investigation into the Hate Parade”.

Several lawmakers, including Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Senator Vin Gopal and Assemblywomen Shama Haider, Sadaf Jaffer and Ellen Park, issued a joint statement condemning the bulldozer incision and applauded Joshi “for offering to take action to ensure that an incident like this does not occur.” to reproduce.”

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