India’s Independence Day Parade in California Canceled for Fear of Hate-related Crimes

Ritu Jha-

[The parade was canceled due to permitting issues according to the city officials but declined to explain what was missing in the ‘special event permit’]

Concerned about the safety of the Indian American community, the city of Fremont in California has canceled the historic parade that used to be part of  India’s Independence Day celebration for the past 27 years.

Hosted by the Festival of India (also known as the Festival of Globe), the celebration to honor India’s independence takes place each year at the Fremont Hall of Justice parking lot in Downtown Fremont. The event lasts two days and features Mela and a parade that carries the grand marshal, along with floats from various Indian states. The event attracts over 100,000 visitors from across the San Francisco Bay Area.

This year the celebration of India’s 73rd Independence Day is scheduled for Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18, where there will be a candlelight vigil to show solidarity to the recent victims of gun violence.

The city of Fremont posted on Facebook, “The parade portion of the 2019 Festival of India has been canceled due to permitting issues, however, the festival portion of the event will still take place Saturday and Sunday.” The parade was originally scheduled for Sunday, August 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. As a result of the parade’s cancelation, all other roads in the area will remain open during the entire event.

The Grand Marshal, Vivek Oberoi, and other VIP guests will be on stage from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. “The City of Fremont and FIA stand strong with our community, and we look forward to a bigger and better parade returning in 2020 for the 28th Annual Festival of India.”

“I feel sad,” Raj Salwan, Vice Mayor of the city of Fremont told indica, on the historic parade‘s cancelation.

Explaining the reasoning behind the cancelation he said, “The city was concerned about the increasing hate-crimes targeting certain communities.”

“There is also rising tension, and backlash on too many Indians taking the [tech] jobs,” he said.

When asked if the cancelation has anything to do with the abrogation of Article 370 or the traditional Kalistan protest, Salwan said, “No, they come to every year and protest but [there is no] threat.”

When asked was there any petition against hosting the parade, said, “No, petition, basically looking at all the condition wasn’t satisfying at this time, period.”

“[The cancelation] was decided two weeks ago and was announced early this week.”

Sharing his thoughts Salwan said, “It was like we felt we are part of the mainstream community, so with cancelation, I feel really sad about it.”

“Fremont was a destination to celebrate India’s Independence day,” he said. “I hope we will have it next year.”


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