Seattle: A coalition of Seattle-area South Asians celebrated the passage of Seattle City Council Resolution 31926 on 3 February, opposing India’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), after hundreds of people rallied and attended a midday City Council vote to express their support. The resolution, introduced by Council member Kshama Sawant, affirmed Seattle as a welcoming city, and expressed City Council’s solidarity with Seattle’s South Asian community regardless of religion and caste.
“We welcome the Seattle City Council’s resolution denouncing the divisive and draconian CAA and NRC. These acts are unconstitutional and designed to disenfranchise several million Muslim, Dalits and other minorities in order to create a fascist state.” said Javed Sikander, spokesperson for the Seattle chapter of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).
Seattle City Council became the first legislative body in the United States to take a stance on India’s CAA and NRC, which have created turmoil in India since the CAA passed in December 2019. The CAA imposes a religious criterion to fast-track Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, and Christian immigrants, notably leaving out Muslims. When paired with the NRC, the CAA could lead to hundreds of millions of people in India being stripped of their citizenship and rights. The NRC requires extensive documentation to prove an individual’s citizenship and has already left out millions of residents when applied in the state of Assam.
“Seattle is leading the moral consensus in the global outcry against the CAA. When genocidal campaigns begin, one important intervention is international condemnation, and the Seattle community feels a deep sense of solidarity with their elected, as the time to stand against the Indian government's Islamophobic policies is now,” said Thenmozhi Soundarajan, Executive Director of Equality Labs. “These genocidal projects happen in the shadows and this resolution highlights the significance of Seattle City Council standing up for South Asian minorities, Muslims, and caste oppressed communities.”
In Seattle, hundreds from the South Asian community and allied organisations have spoken out against the CAA and NRC, including over 400 people who rallied in Bellevue on 26 January. Local organisations API Chaya, Tasveer, IAMC Seattle, Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Washington, Seattle South Asians Building Accountability and Healing (SABAH), Khalsa Gurmat Center Federal Way, Gurudwara of Renton, Gurudwara of Auburn, Gurudwara of Kent, Gurudwara of Bothell, and the Seattle LGBTQ Commission joined national organisations Equality Labs, Amnesty International USA, and the Ambedkar King Study Circle in calling for the passage of the resolution. Seattle-area residents recognise that international condemnation will apply pressure on the Indian government to account for the discrimination and violence perpetuated by the CAA and NRC.
“As South Asians in Seattle, SABAH confirms that the CAA is not an internal issue to India, and that Seattle must take a stand against it,” said Veena Roy of SABAH. “There are thousands here in Seattle who are intimately connected to the minority experience in India, some have needed to migrate here after similar violence in the past, and many who have family in India who directly experience the violence that the Indian government clamors to keep hidden. We know that Kshama Sawant’s resolution is much more than a symbolic gesture. It has created ripples in the Greater Seattle Area, even in India. As a community of Seattle, a sanctuary city that fights for equality and safety for the undocumented, we applaud the passing of this resolution,” she added.
Javed Sikander, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Seattle welcomed the resolution. “These acts are unconstitutional and designed to disenfranchise several million Muslim, Dalits and other minorities in order to create a fascist state. The prime minister of India and his party BJP has to be stopped from further damaging India and its secularism,” he said.
Tyna Ek, of the Seattle Indivisible, said, "The NRC/CAA, in combination, threatens to make millions of Indian Muslims stateless. Seattle Indivisible stands against religious persecution here and abroad; and we are proud that our City Council does as well."
Full text of the resolution:
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Updated Date: Feb 04, 2020 09:33:12 IST