India Independence Parade organizers missed deadlines in 27 years

Ritu Jha-

 

More details have emerged about the reasons for the cancellation of the historic India Independence Day parade, the only one of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area, that was scheduled to take place Sunday, Aug. 18.

Documents obtained by indica  from the city of Fremont support the local government’s contention that the parade’s organizers missed deadlines and other specifics required for securing a permit for the parade.

“Yes, due to missed deadlines in the permitting process, we were unable to provide proper security,” Kim Petersen, Fremont chief of police, said. “Obviously, with the current climate, we could not accept less than a full security compliment.”

But both the city of and parade organizer Dr. Romesh K Japra, founder and chairman of the Festival of India (also known as the Festival of Globe) and parade, have blamed each other for the lack of a parade this year.

The city of had posted the reason for the parade’s cancellation was that organizers did not meet requirements needed to obtain the special permit. But the organizers have denied that was the cause, saying the organization has been hosting the festival and parade for the past 27 years, and they are very well-versed in the legal processes and procedures. The parade did not take place because of the safety issue. 

However, the documents obtained by indica from the city confirm the organizers missed deadlines multiple times in the permitting process for the parade and requirements for safety issues.

A letter from Petersen to Japra , dated Aug. 6, reads, “ We intend to recommend approval of the event without the parade. Because of the multiple missed deadlines, we do not have the ability to appropriately staff the parade at this late juncture, especially in light of recent violence.”

Japra responded, “We just finished our meeting with Professional Event Organizer Frank Laney and have signed the Agreement and paid up his and Vendor’s expenses. We would like to still make another plea to allow us to proceed with Parade part as well. Frank and our team is prepared to go ahead unless you strongly feel Safety and Security concerns in light of recent Mass Shootings.”

Japra said that in March they applied for a special event permit for the Festival of India and Parade 2019.

Amy Gee, Fremont Police management analyst, emailed indica the city’s timeline of the papers processed which shows:

On March 28, the city of Fremont received the special event permit application for the Festival of India and Parade 2019.

On June 17, the city’s Special Event Committee met with the applicant, Rajesh Verma of the Federation of Indian Association of Northern California (FIA), their event organizer Frank Laney, and other representatives of the FIA regarding final conditions for the event.

On June 20, final supplemental conditions for the event were sent to the FIA and fulfillment of conditions were due Aug. 1.

On July 25, the city received event organizer Frank Laney’s resignation from the event, citing financial and public safety concerns because of FIA’s situation.

On July 30, Fremont Police Department representatives Chief Petersen, Lieutenant Julie Cochran, Gee, and a representative of Permitting met in person with Festival of India representatives Verma, Japra and one other representative to discuss concerns about the event because of the lack of an event organizer and other outstanding requirements. At the meeting, the city offered to extend the deadline of requirement fulfillment to Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. The same afternoon, a follow-up email was sent to the FIA regarding the deadline extension and outstanding items.

On Aug. 4, Petersen met with FIA representatives to discuss conditions of concern.  A follow-up email was sent immediately after the meeting to recap the concerns. As of that time, FIA still had not provided the final requirements on stage drawings, nor did the event have an official coordinator in place.

On Aug. 6, Petersen documented the steps taken by the city in reviewing and resolving issues surrounding the issuance of the permit.  A memo was sent from Petersen to the City Council.

On Aug. 6, Petersen responded to Japra of the FIA regarding the recommendation of canceling the parade.  On the same day, the city issued a special event permit for the Festival of India without a parade.

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