iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
Several members of the Indian community came together in New York City to discuss on several issues that their facing and how they can make their presence valued in their adopted homeland.
On March 1, the community members met along with the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) to make their voice heard by offices that matter.
In that regard, the meeting, which took place in the City Hall was represented by Mayor Adam’s Chief Advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi.
The Indian community delegation was headed by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham along with GOPIO-Manhattan Executive VP Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, VP Dr. Vimal Goyle and Treasurer Braj Aggarwal as well as GOPIO-New York Chapter Hon. Chair Lal Motwani and President Beena Kothari.
One of the key issues that prompted this meeting was the defacing of Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Union Square Park in February 4. For this, the GOPIO requested Mayor Adams to increase police presence in the park area as well as to apprehend and punish culprit.
In addition, the Indian consulate in New York City has asked the local authorities and the US State Department to investigate and take appropriate action against those responsible for it.
The Consulate condemns this act of vandalism in the strongest terms, the Indian mission said in a tweet. “The matter has been taken up with the US State local authorities as well as the US State Department for immediate investigation and appropriate action against those responsible for this despicable act,” it wrote.
“Mahatma Gandhi is the Father of the Nation in India and an apostle of peace and vandalizing the statue is a not acceptable and the culprit must be apprehended and punished,” said GOPIO Manhattan President Shivender Sofat.
“We Indian Americans are deeply hurt by the disrespect shown to Gandhiji, especially when we are observing the Black History Month, celebrating the contribution of African American leaders including the late Rev. Martin Luther King who was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent struggle against the British Empire to achieve freedom for India,” said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the GOPIO International.
GOPIO urged Adams to find the culprit(s) and increase police presence at the Union Square Park where the statue is located.
Beside the Gandhi statue, major part of the discussion was on how to bring businesses to New York City, vis-à-vis New York businesses setting up business in India.
The delegation told city officials that many Indian companies are setting up business outfits in the US and that Indian Americans in New York city could serve as conduits to reach out to businesses in India.
It was suggested that whenever trade and business delegations come to New York, City’s International Affairs Department must reach out and hold meetings with them. Another Business Promotion Committee headed by Dr. Abraham was nominated along with Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Sudhir Vaishnav, Mukund Mehta, Ketan Shah and Karthikeya Parashar.
The delegation also suggested the city officials continue with the Diwali celebration and hold a special celebration from the City for the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence to honor the largest democracy of the world.