NewsIndiaTimes - page 22

News India Times
August 26, 2016
Special Report
– that’s all you need to know
By Suman Guha Mozumder
hroughout next week
tens of thousands of
Indian-Americans will
gather in public squares
and on street corners in
cities, big or small across the
United States, to celebrate the
70th Anniversary of India’s
Preparations for the annual
ritual have already begun in
earnest with community organi-
zations vying with each other to
draw a larger crowd in their
independence day celebrations
with crowd-pullers such as the
presence of Bollywood Actor
Ajitabh Bachchan, who is
expected to be the grand mar-
shal of the New York India Day
Parade organized by the
Federation of Indian
Associations, or singer-turned
politician Babul Supriyo of the
Bharatiya Janata Part, leading
the Chicago India Day Parade,
or Bollywood Singer Sunidhi
Chauhan who will headline the
Naperville, Il., India Day
Parade. “I request all Indians to
join the event … Hindus,
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jews,
and especially the youth. This
day we celebrate our insur-
mountable strength as a nation
whose greatest asset is its uni-
fied diversity,” a senior FIA offi-
cial said in a press statement
Despite such appeals, the
spirit of celebration, however,
does not seem to have infected
all Indian-Americans.
No Celebrations For The
People like Sita Ram of
Connecticut, a former New York
cabby who now runs a gas sta-
tion in Hartford, Conn. said he
would not attend any such cele-
Instead, the 57-yearold native
of Phagwara, Punjab, said he
and his friends from the Tri-
state area would hold a demon-
stration outside the United
Nations later this month,
protesting the recent atrocities
against members of the Dalit
community in India.
“Earlier we used to take out
the float of Babasaheb
Ambedkar at the India Day
Parade and would even partici-
pate briefly, but in view of what
is happening in India these days
to fellow Dalits, we as a commu-
nity are deeply hurt and have
decided to stage a
protest/demonstration outside
the United Nation instead of
joining the I-day celebrations,”
Ram, a Dalit who has embraced
Buddhism, said.
He claimed there are about
500 members of the Dalit com-
munity living in the Tri-state
area, many of whom are mem-
bers of International Ambedkar
Society, an umbrella organiza-
tion of the Dalits. “Many people
are expected to join the protest
demonstration, the date for
which will be finalized once we
receive the permission from
police to stage our protest to
condemn vio-
lence against
Dalits,” Ram said.
Outrage against pro-
Hindu activists, espe-
cially “gau rakshkaks”,
or cow protection
squads, grew in
India earlier this
month after
some mem-
bers of the cow
protection squads,
chained 4 Dalit
men to a car,
before stripping
and beating
them up at a
village in
Gujarat’s Gir-
Somnath dis-
trict for skin-
ning a dead
So much was
the public out-
cry across India
over the inci-
dent that Prime
Narendra Modi
had to issue a pub-
lic statement, con-
demning the mem-
bers of the so-called
cow-protection squads.
But that does not
seem to have assuaged the
feelings of Dalits who blame
BJP and its general
Hindutwavadi prouncements
for creating a climate of hatred
towards members of the lower
castes such as the Dalits.
Continued on page 24
Why Dalits Are Not Celebrating
Independence Day
Freedom Struggle, Continues
1...,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,...40
Powered by FlippingBook