INDICA NEWS OFFICE-
The Indian Business Association (IBA) issued a formal apology on Tuesday for including a bulldozer in its India Independence Day parade in Edison and Woodbridge townships in New Jersey on August 14. The apology letter to the mayors of both cities was made public on Tuesday.
The letter, signed by IBA President Chandrakant Patel, acknowledges that aspects of the Independence Day event offended Native American minority communities, especially Muslims.
The letter stated: “Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer among the parade floats, which is a divisive image that does not reflect our mission. 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. »
On August 14, the IBA and Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) held a parade along Oak Tree Road from Edison to Woodbridge to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence. India. Videos and photographs said the parade featured a bulldozer with a picture of Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Critics and civil rights organizations have said the bulldozer and accompanying sign – ‘Baba Ka Bulldozer’ (Baba’s Bulldozer) – refer to the administration’s use of bulldozers. ‘Adityanath to demolish illegal homes, businesses and places of worship of Muslims and Christians. Other BJP-ruled states such as Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have also implemented this tactic to demolish allegedly illegal buildings.
“We have hereby committed not to allow these symbols in the future and to work with all of the various groups of South Asian descent to ensure that our parade remains the best in the State of New Jersey,” Patel said in the letter.
He added: “The parade should be and always has been a celebration of our Indian heritage and of inclusion and diversity among our many different cultures and religions. Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer among the parade floats, a divisive image that does not reflect our mission. It has been viewed quite negatively by many who are deeply affected and insulted by certain activities taking place in India. Many who participated or watched the parade or heard about the activities on social media were offended by this symbol and by our guest speaker’s comments and that was not our intention.
On August 16, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) as well as the rights groups Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) issued statements against the use of the bulldozer in the parade.
At a press conference held in Edison, IAMC, CAIR-NJ, Black Lives Matter (BLM), American Muslims for Democracy (AMD) and HfHR said they met with the US Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey to seek legal action against the parade organizers. They said they had filed charges with the Edison Police Department against the IBA and requested a police investigation into the event, which they called a “hate parade”.
Samip Joshi, the mayor of Edison Township in New Jersey, criticized the inclusion of a bulldozer by Hindutva groups saying “any symbol or action that represents discrimination is not welcome”. He added that the parade was not sponsored by the township.
On Tuesday, the New Jersey chapter of CAIR acknowledged the apology. Selaedin Maksut, executive director of CAIR-NJ, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the IBA’s apology recognizes its wrongdoings, which he says is “a step forward for to make future parades representative of the Indian population, including Muslims”. , Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and Tribals”.
He said: “We agree that future parades cannot include blatantly divisive symbols and speakers and should never be about politics. Such hatred cannot be tolerated. Instead, the parade should celebrate India’s independence, its rich culture and its diversity.
Maksut added: “The bulldozer is a symbol of intimidation and support for the oppression of minorities in India. Such hateful symbols have no place on our streets.