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Chicago Council logo (Source: Twitter)
Chicago Council logo (Source: Twitter)

Chicago City Council rejects misleading resolution critical of Indian govt, CAA: US-India Friendship Council

ANI | Updated: Mar 25, 2021 09:54 IST

Chicago [US], March 25 (ANI): The Chicago City Council on Wednesday rejected a resolution which sought to condemn "violence against certain castes and religious minorities" in India, following intense pushback from the Indian diaspora in the United States over concerns that it could lead to a disharmony within the South Asian community here.
According to a statement from the US-India Friendship Council, the resolution, targeting India's internal matters and full of misrepresentation was tabled in the City of Chicago in July 2020 by Alderwoman Maria Hadden of the 49th ward.
The resolution was meant to mislead the reader with its opening remarks 'Honoring India's democracy and independence' and was intended to be passed without any discussion or debate, it added.
The proposed draft called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government as Hindu extremist, denounced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that was passed through a democratic process in India's Parliament as discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Additionally, it used defamatory language against high-ranking elected representatives of India, unfavourably addressed the abrogation of Article 370 and falsely claimed that police had attacked peaceful protestors with live ammunition and had arrested thousands of them, the statement said.
The resolution failed to gather majority support with 26 members voting against the resolution, 18 voting in favour and six abstaining. During the meeting, some Aldermen felt the proposal needlessly sowed division within Chicago's Indian American community and that matters at home were more pressing.
Speaking to ANI, Nirav Patel, a retail business owner in Chicago, said: "The resolution was presented in June 2019, which made false narratives about issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Kashmir, under the guise of congratulating India's 72nd independence. This resolution can lead to severe effects against India and the Indians living in the US. We opposed the bill and it has been over an 8-month-long marathon, but the truth has won in the Council."
According to the US-India Friendship Council, the bill was sponsored by the Centre of American-Islamic Relations, which has been designated as a terrorist organisation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to its association with terrorist groups.
Several fake and non-existent US organisations had supported the resolution, which published wrong pictures and formulated narratives on India, Patel said, further alleging that the resolution was backed by Pakistan.
"We have lived in Chicago for a very long time, and we are scared by recent attacks like the Atlanta shootings, which left six Koreans dead. Mothers do not want to send their children to school in case they get bullied. Students don't want to go to colleges and universities in fear of getting attacked. Through this resolution, large scale riots can occur. So we came together and voiced against it and defeated the resolution in the Council," he said.
Patel further said that the fight was not over and there was a need to counter such lies.
Amitabh Mittal, another Indian citizen in Chicago, told ANI that the resolution was pushed back six times, but due to the support of paid professionals and a technicality, it was tabled in the Chicago City Council.
Mittal said that the resolution spread nefarious and false narratives of 'genocide' against minorities in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in India, which could lead to long term implications in the US.
"All organisations and students voluntarily participated in defeating the resolution. The Indian citizens worked tirelessly and devoted valuable time. There was no truth to these statements," he said.
Mittal also called for a thorough investigation in the organisation spearheading the resolution, which he claimed was a 'quickly-made up' organisation with no real support. According to his research, out of 24 organisations backing the CAIR, 7 were found to be bogus.
"A false narrative was set up that there was genocide in India, which is totally not true. We had 2.8 million Muslims in 1947, we have over 100 million now. We did not bring up the Pakistan issue, where there were 4 million Sikhs at the time of Partition, while just 6,143 remain there now. There are also just a few hundred Sikhs left in Afghanistan," he said.
"All Jewish people have left Bangladesh to come to India. If there was genocide in India, the Rohingya Muslims would not have come from Myanmar. They are falsely blaming Hindus as perpetrators of such crimes... This resolution is creating disharmony among the Indian diaspora," he added.
Mittal also opined that with the bigger crime issue - following the deadly shootings in Atlanta and Colorado - and the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Council should be focused more on local problems instead of such false resolutions.
The resolution sparked a rigorous debate within the city's South Asian community for months and faced severe opposition from the Indian diaspora in Chicago, according to US-India Friendship Council.
Chicago is home to a sizeable population of Indian Americans in various professions such as doctors, engineers, real estate owners, army veterans and business owners who came together to express concerns against the divisive nature of the resolution and raise awareness about India's multi-cultural, multi-ethnic population. (ANI)