EDISON, New Jersey, September 22 (CNNBreakingNews.net) — Every year in August, crowds cling to saffron, white and green flags Line a parade tour of Edison, New Jersey to watch local business owners, politicians, and occasionally Bollywood celebrities pass by to commemorate India’s Independence Day.
Usually a celebration, this year’s parade instead divided this suburban, heavily immigrant city 30 miles (50 km).) from New York City when a yellow bulldozer — a symbol that has become insulting to many Indian Muslims — appeared under the car.
India’s huge diaspora consists mainly of the predominantly Hindu community, but includes many Muslims.
During the parade on August 14, a sign with the inscription “Baba Bulldozer” in Hindi was hanging on the bulldozer. next to pictures of the Indian Politician Yogi Adityanath.
As a Hindu hardliner, Adityanath is a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and prime minister of The country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, where a number of Muslim houses were destroyed by bulldozers. read more
Some houses were also demolished in Delhi, which is ruled by the opposition Aam Aadmi Party.
Adityanath bestreitet, anti-muslimisch zu sein.
“The prime minister has used bulldozers to destroy illegal structures,” an adviser in Lucknow, told the state capital. “Clearly, people of Indian origin understand his commitment, and that is why they praised him during the rally in New Jersey.”
Some Muslims in India say the community has been humiliated and pressured since Modi came to power in 2014. In the year, Muslims took to the streets to protest against anti-Islamic comments by two members of the BJP.
“We were hurt to see this hatred migrate from India to the United States,” said Mohammad Jawad, president of The Indian American Muslim Council, which has lived in Edison for two decades, told CNNBreakingNews.net. “That hate is in our backyard now.”
The organizer, the Indian Business Association (IBA), a New Jersey-based group of Indian Hindu businessmen, has apologized and did not respond to follow-up calls asking why the decision was made to pick up the bulldozer.
Nonetheless, residents said they remain concerned that the parade illustrates how India’s political conflict and United States, religious tensions are seeping into expatriate communities. Some rejected the organizer’s decision to present Sambit Patra, the BJP’s national spokesperson, as a special guest.
Patra could not immediately be reached for comment.
Other groups that appeared in the Edison Parade, according to participants, included Overseas Friends of the BJP als as well as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which are both hardline Hindu groups.
“If this isn’t nipped in the bud, if this seed of cleavage blooms, then we’ll have the same situation here that we have at home “, said Imtiaz Siamwalla, a 56-year-old Muslim who is a technology consultant and resident of Edison. “We are seriously concerned about this.”
According to US census data, almost half of Edison’s approximately 110,000 inhabitants identify themselves as “Asian.” A long line of shops and small businesses that connect Edison and the neighboring town of Woodbridge has become known as “Little India.”
Two weeks after the parade, the IBA apologized with the words: “Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer under the floats in the parade, which is a is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission. It was viewed quite negatively by many who are deeply affected and insulted by certain activities in India.”
In a letter to Edison and Woodbridge mayors, the IBA promised all divisive symbols from the parade in the coming years.
Edison Mayor Samip Joshi said in a statement: “I want to make it clear that any symbol or action that Discrimination is not welcome in Edison Township.”