Washington, July 16, 2023: (PTI) A group of eminent Indian-Americans has urged lawmakers here to take steps against rising Hinduphobia activities in the US and protect the rights of the Hindu community in the country.
As many as 21 Congressmen attended the Second National Hindu Advocacy Day on the US Capitol during which the elected representatives said that there is a need to pay attention to discrimination against the Hindus in the US.
There is need to pay attention to how, “there is discrimination not just by race but also by religion and Hinduphobia and intimidation of the Hindu community is an old problem,” Congressman Rich McCormick told attendees of the day-long conference at the US Capitol organised by Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA).
McCormick said that bills like California’s SB403 “are racist, discriminatory and divisive, since they seek to classify people in ways that the people themselves reject.” This is not American and needs to be opposed, the Republican Congressman from Georgia said.
“I believe strongly in freedom of religion for every individual and stand against any kind of attacks and phobia,” said Congressman Sri Thanedar.
He spoke of the importance of ensuring representation for diverse groups and freedom of religion.
“The Hindu religion is a peaceful one, yet it has been attacked and needs to be protected. Like others, Hindus deserve to be able to practice their religion without any kind of hate, prejudice or phobia. As a Congressman, I myself noted the lack of a Hindu caucus and therefore helped create one,” Thanedar said.
Hindu Americans from 12 states who attended the day-long conference were Hank Johnson, Tom Keane, Rich McCormick, Thanedar, Buddy Carter and Sanford Bishop, as well as Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani. “Hindus are under attack in the US,” Atani said.
According to Nikunj Trivedi, president of CoHNA, there has been growing awareness about the Hindus in the US.
“It’s been a productive year of advocacy for the Hindu community with states like Georgia and cities as far apart as Fremont, California and Memphis, Tennessee, seeking to educate about the problem with resolutions and proclamations against Hinduphobia.
“We also witnessed history as the growing popularity of Hindu festivals like Diwali led to the successful declaration of the festival as a holiday in New York City public schools,” he said.
The idea of ‘caste discrimination’ in America is strange at best, given the lack of proper data of any actual discrimination, said Prof Babones, executive director of the Indian Century Roundtable.
“How do California lawmakers plan to figure out someone’s caste in the US, given that there are over 1100 scheduled castes, over 700 scheduled tribes and over 2500 castes in the OBC category just in India alone? Dalit is not a ‘caste’,” he added.