New York: Marking the 10th anniversary of the
Gujarat riots, a coalition of over 40 Indian-American bodies
held a demonstration and a candle-light vigil here, shouting
slogans against Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged
complicity in the communal violence and demanding justice for
Over 100 people from the Indian-American community came
together under the banner of `Coalition Against Genocide`
(CAG) for the demonstration yesterday.
Gathered near a statute of Mahatma Gandhi in Manhattan,
the coalition pressed its demand for compensation for the
victims and to bring the perpetrators of the riots to justice.
Women and children held placards and shouted slogans
against Modi and his government.
Vice President of the Indian American Muslim Council
Eastern Region, Mohammad Yusuf Gaddani, said the coalition
chose to hold the demonstration in front of Gandhi`s statue as
"we have to decide whether we want Gandhi`s India or Modi`s
The coalition claimed that even after 10 years of the
Gujarat riots, justice had been denied to the victims and
their families and the state government too had shown no
remorse for the killings of innocent civilians.
"Those who have lost their lives cannot be brought back
but we should bring closure to the victims and their families
by putting those responsible for the killings behind bars,"
Swati Shah, a member of the South Asia Solidarity
Initiative, said it was the responsibility of the Indian and
South Asian diaspora to maintain the correct information in
public sphere about what had happened in Gujarat.
"We are concerned that Modi wants to raise his profile as
a potential candidate for Prime Minister...," she said.
The 40 organisations had earlier come together in 2005
under the CAG banner and campaigned against Modi`s visit to
the US. The coalition had sought denial of a visa to Modi and
revocation of his diplomatic visa.
Gaddani said similar vigils would be held in California,
Washington, Chicago, Boston and Florida by local chapters of
the Indian American Muslim Council.
He said the people needed to come together and ensure
that what happened in Gujarat 10 years ago was not repeated in
any part of India again.
The demonstration was held just days after a
Congressional resolution was introduced in the US House of
Representatives on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of
Gujarat communal riots.
The resolution shared the opinion of the US Department of
State that the Gujarat government had not adequately pursued
justice for the victims of the 2002 violence and urged the
state government to restore religious freedom.