Thousands protest India’s CAA in 30 cities across US.
Thousands of Indian Americans joined protest rallies against a controversial Indian law fast tracking Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees in 30 cities across America on India’s Jan 26 Republic Day.
An umbrella group called the Coalition to Stop Genocide had organized a second “National Day of Action” to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) calling it violative of the secular Indian constitution as it excludes Muslims.
Specifically CAA offers Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before Dec 31, 2014 a path to Indian citizenship after six years instead of the usual 12 for others.
The Indian Supreme Court has referred 143 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of CAA to a five judge Constitution bench, but declined to stay its implementation.
The near frigid weather in most East coast and Mid -West cities across America, did not deter people to come out of their homes on a Sunday morning to protest against CAA.
In several cities smaller groups also rallied in support of CAA saying the act does not target any Indian citizen.
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Many in their hooded jackets, ear muffs and snow hats joined the anti-CAA protests shouting slogans like Hum kaagaz nahi dikhayenge or “we won’t show papers.”
Indianapolis, Wichita, Kansas, Seattle and Detroit too saw similar protests. In cities such as New York, Washington, Houston and Chicago people walked up to the Indian consulates.
Energy was evident amongst the motley crowd comprising businessmen, professionals, graduates and even families with kids.
Washington DC witnessed one of the bigger turnouts as more than 1,200 Indian Americans walked the 1.5-mile distance from the White House Ellipse to the Indian Embassy.
In New York City many prominent Indian American authors and academics joined the march.
READ MORE: Hundreds protest in Washington, DC, against CAA and NRC (December 22, 2019)
“Thrilled to be at a massive protest against discriminatory Indian Citizenship Law in front of the Indian consulate in New York City,” tweeted author Sangay Mishra. “Indian American community turned up in large numbers.”
In Atlanta, more than 1,000 people marched from the CNN office to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.They then gathered outside the Indian Consulate in the city and chanted slogans such as Save India’s Constitution.
Around 1200 protestors gathered at Indian consulate in San Francisco with Indian flags and placards rejecting CAA in India.
Shubra Ghosh, one of the protestors at the march on being asked why it was important to hold a protest thousands of miles away from India said: “Most of us here have an Indian origin.”
“This is not the kind of country we grew up in and this fascism is not what we want our children to remember as the country of their forefathers,” she said.
“If we will not raise voice against a community being sidelined today, tomorrow it will the turn of others minorities,” Ghosh said. “The law is divisive and undemocratic. It must be rejected,” said another protester.
Indian Civil rights activist and Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey, who is visiting Washington said: “The brutal crackdown by government of India on the anti-citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests has created a situation in which women in large numbers have come out on streets to challenge the divisive-communal-fascist agenda of the government.”
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