Hundreds of Indian Americans of different faiths rallied outside Indian consulates in major American cities on Friday evening to protest against the recent violence in Delhi that has killed at least 42 people, and injured hundreds.
Violence erupted in the Indian capital on Monday, leading to a three-day-long rampage, with Hindu mobs attacking Muslim homes, shops and mosques. The attacks were carried out on protesters, who have been rallying against a new citizenship law, after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra threatened peaceful sit-ins would be removed from the streets.
India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is meant to help persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, but critics say the law, which makes faith a basis for granting citizenship, is against the country’s secular ethos.
The CAA passed last December has been compared to US President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban as it blocks naturalisation for Muslims, who form nearly 15 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population.
More than 30 people have been killed in a harsh police crackdown on nationwide peaceful sit-ins against the “anti-Muslim” law.
Outside the Indian consulate in New York on Friday evening, protesters gathered chanting “Shame!” at officials as they tried to exit or enter the building.
“We are exhausted,” Sana Qutubuddin, an activist with Alliance for Justice and Accountability – a coalition of South Asian groups that organised Friday’s rally alongside the Indian American Muslim Council, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, and Equality Labs – said during her speech at the rally.