New Yorkers refused to support the celebration of the demolition of Babri Masjid
Jagdish Sewhani, President of the American India Public Affairs Committee, was confident that on August 5, thousands of Hindutva supporters would gather on Times Square to celebrate the construction of Ram Mandir at the site where the Babri Masjid, a 400-year-old Muslim place once stood. He was certain Branded Cities, an advertising company he had contacted, would put billboards on the giant NASDAQ screen and the 17,000 square-foot-wrap around LED display screen broadcasting the Ram Temple construction ceremony. With the help of other Hindutva organizations that owe loyalty to the fascist group RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, he wanted to broadcast the event from 8 am to 10 am with the 3D portraits of the temple's design, Ram's paintings and pictures of Modi laying the foundation. The RSS and VHP affiliates had also sent emails. They made long phone calls to Modi supporters all over America to be present on Times Square to celebrate the destruction of the Babri Masjid some 28 years ago. Many had made reservations also. However, they were not aware that New Yorks's prominent citizens and over 20 human rights organizations had written a letter to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio opposing the display of Ram Mandir ceremony in India. The letter said that the purpose of such a publicity was to dehumanize Muslim New Yorkers and celebrate human rights abuses against Muslims in India." The signatories further explained in the letter. "Our coalition stands opposed to the far-right Hindutva nationalism of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] government in India. We are writing to ask you how New York City, a city that claims to have inclusive and egalitarian values, can allow such a brazen celebration of hatred and Islamophobia." The signatories included Hindus for Human Rights and Coalition Against Fascism in India, among many others. The letter also referred to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 by Hindutva fascists. It called on the major to prevent the AIPAC from projecting Islamophobic billboards in Times Square. The signatories explained that the August 5, the celebration was a warning to India's religious minorities that unless they accept the RSS ideology, their places of worship would not be safe. Many New Yorkers felt that the slogan Jai Shri Ram on the billboard would bolden the Hindutva terrorists to lynch and kill members of the minority communities. India's Supreme Court had declared the destruction of Babri Masjid illegal while handing it to Hindus. The City heard its citizens' voices and refused to run a digital advertisement for the Hindutva fascist group. A coalition of Muslim American organizations welcomed the decision. The group includes Indian Minorities Advocacy Network, ImanNet, Justice for all, Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India CAPI, North American Indian Muslim Association NAIMA, Islamic Circle of North America -Social Justice ICNASJ and The International Society for Peace and Justice. Dennis Levine of Branded Cities confirmed the decision. Reports from New York suggest that the Indian embassy officials were in contact with the RSS affiliated. Outfits in the USA and kept an eye on the Coalition activities. Dr. Shaik Ubaid, the President of ImanNet, described a victory for pluralism, human rights, and the rule of law. He urged the US government to investigate the donations fascist groups in the US offer to RSS and other Hindu supremacist outfits in India. The coalition had also contacted the governor, senators, and members of the House of Representatives. Reports from Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Detroit, Dallas, and other cities also suggest that the Modi and RSS supporters are planning extensive celebration in their temples to endorse the Masjid demolition.