A large number of Indian-Americans have come out in support of the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens, holding rallies in several US cities to "dispel misinformation and myths" surrounding the contentious law, the organisers of the demonstrations have said. According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, following religious persecution there will get Indian citizenship.
Protests are being held across India ever since the citizenship bill was introduced in Parliament earlier this month. The bill was passed by Parliament and signed into law by the President. The government on Tuesday approved nearly Rs 12,700 crore for carrying out the Census 2021 and the National Population Register (NPR) and made it clear that NPR has no relation with the contentious National Register of Citizens amidst stiff opposition against the NRC.
These rallies are aimed at "dispelling the misinformation and myths" surrounding the law as well as to counter the propaganda of hate, lies and downright absurdities, the organisers said. Indian-Americans held a pro-CAA rally in Seattle in December at Victor Steinbrueck Park, in Austin on December 22 near Capitol Building and in Houston on December 20 in front of the Indian Consulate, they said.
The rallies were also held in Dublin, Ohio, on December 22 at Ted Kaltenbach Park and in Raleigh North Carolina on December 22 at Nash Square Park. Several other demonstrations are being planned in the coming weeks in Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta, San Jose and other locations, the organisers said.
"We held this rally to counter the fear-mongering of Islamic and leftist organisations about the CAA and the NRC and their bizarre statements that the NRC in combination with the CAA is designed to expel Muslims from India," said Vineet Goel, one of the organisers of Dublin Ohio rally. Archana Sunil, one of the organisers of the Seattle rally, said the opponents of the CAA and the NRC were misinformed and did not want to talk about facts or listen to the facts.Houstonians came out in big numbers in support of the CAA aimed at providing relief to oppressed minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists) in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, said Achalesh Amar, spokesperson for the Houston rally.
"Instead of having civil debate based on facts, some organisations are bent on subverting any discourse or the truth, by spreading completely absurd lies and what is lost in their discourse is the plight of those who suffered untold sufferings since the partition of India," he alleged.
More than 70 eminent doctors and community leaders joined the rally in Raleigh in North Carolina. Arvind Modhini, a participant, said they came together to extend their support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The participants demanded strict punishment to protestors found involved in destroying public property and targeting police personnel in India, and not spare the mastermind behind these activities.
Ashok K Karmakar, chairman of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC), USA welcomed the enactment of the CAA.
"While this piece of legislation would help to uphold human rights of the people (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Sikhs and Parsis) who have been persecuted for their religious beliefs in the countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and have been living an inhuman and uncertain life in India for many many years, we also believe, the law and the Constitution of India will protect the rights of many Muslims from those countries and elsewhere who are being persecuted for their political opinions," Karmakar said in a statement.
Protests are being held across India against the CAA and the proposed NRC. On Sunday, peaceful protests were held in several areas, including Jantar Mantar, Jamia Millia Islamia, Nizammudin, Alaknanda and Connaught Place. A large number of people hit the streets and took out a 'solidarity march' in South Delhi in support of Jamia students and those facing police action during protests against the contentious law.