NRIs in Sacramento California hold rally in support of CAA 

indica News Bureau-

Expressing their gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government for the taking a decision to help the religiously persecuted minorities in three neighboring countries, NRIs rallied at the California State Capitol, Sacramento on January 5 in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

One of the organizers, Shivesh Sinha, an Indian-American, said, “Over 200 Indian diaspora have come with colorful and meaningful placards, slogans, banners and flags of USA and India. Their message was loud and clear.” 

CAA support rally was organized by “Sacramento for New India Group”. The speakers were from Indian regions including but not limited to Bengal, Kashmir,  Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra.

The participants expressed their full supported the CAA, according to which the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution will get Indian citizenship.

This rally was aimed at “dispelling the misinformation and myths” surrounding the law as well as to counter the propaganda of hate, lies and downright absurdities, the organizers said.

Rally started by singing National Anthems of India and the USA. Shohini Chakraborty, a 7th grader and extremely talented singer in the Greater Sacramento region, gave a beautiful rendition of US National Anthem. Introduction of the CAA was done by Gururaj Narasimha. Shivesh Sinha, one of the organizers of the Sacramento 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.

Aparna Malaviya, a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Department of Asian American studies at UC Davis, is currently working on her Postdoctoral project on Afghan refugees. She gave her insights to the audience based on her research work on Afghan refugees in India, and the problems that they faced in their home country. She conveyed that CAA is a significant positive step in supporting such refugees, but a lot more is needed.

Sinha, spokesperson for the Sacramento rally , said, “Instead of having civil debate based on facts, unfortunately some organizations are bent on subverting any discourse or the truth, by spreading completely absurd lies about CAA and what is lost in their discourse is the plight of those who suffered untold sufferings since the partition of India.” 

Inder Kaw, a Kashmiri Pandit and one of the participants, started his speech with Veda Sloka chanting, and said they came together to extend their support to PM 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.

Dr. Bhavin Parikh, one of the organizers, said “There have been a lot of good initiatives by the Government of India like – Clean India movement (Swachh Bharat), and educate a girl child (Beti Padhao) program that are showing the positive impact now. NRIs have been actively supporting such initiatives.”

EasanKatir, one of the participants, said “Our voices heard at the Capitol”. Manas Ray – who came from a Bengali family who migrated from East Pakistan during partition, and has been dealing with refugee issues for several years. He added: “We need to reflect that in 1947 the percentage of Hindu/Sikh population in Pakistan was nearly 23% and today is about 1.5%, similarly in Bangladesh it was 30% Hindus in 1947,  now reduced to about 10%.” 

People attended kept shouting,  ‘Bharata Mata ki Jai’”, “We Support CAA”, and “Vandemaataram”.

Jay Jayaraman, one of the participants, said “Sacramento NRIs welcomed the enactment of the CAA, and I came here to extend their support to CAA”. Abhinav Shukla, said “Any person from any country, and of any religion, can still become a citizen of India by following due processes – just like any other immigration law in the world.”

 “In California to get a State Real ID, three forms of verification are a must for residents here. Just to re-enroll a child in local school district also requires families to submit at least three different address verification forms for school boundaries. What is the problem for people living in India in showing their verification IDs to confirm they are the legal citizens of India? India cannot be a ‘Public Dharma Satram’ for all any more, as currently people from neighboring countries coming and living in India illegally, working for cheap, causing social, political and security issues for the local communities over there. This must be stopped. Through CAA, NPR, and NRC they all must be checked for IDs and whoever does not possess, they all need to send back to their original places where they really belong to”, said Venkat, one of the participants.

The organizers thanked all the people who attended the rally and extended their support to CAA. The ‘Sacramento for New India’ comprises community of Indian origin people living in the Greater Sacramento area, who want to be actively involved in supporting the good initiatives by the Government of India to help develop positive image of India in the USA.