Indian American rights group, ‘The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India,’ has organized a mass protest at Times Square on August 5 against the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya in India.

The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India is a network of US-based civil rights organizations and activists including dozens of organizations like Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Hindus for Human Rights, Ambedkar Association of North American, Ambedkar King Study Circle, Council for Minority Rights in India, Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI) and others. The public protest scheduled for August 5 is in response to the American India Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)’s celebration of the Ram temple foundation stone ceremony.

AIPAC, a group of Indian Americans have announced a celebration in New York City as a symbol of glorification of the demolition of the historic Babri Masjid of Ayodhya on whose ruins the Ram Temple is going to be built. The final verdict by India’s Supreme Court on the Ayodhya dispute was pronounced in November 2019 where the disputed site was handed over to the trust for building Ram Janmabhoomi temple. The verdict had noted that the demolition of Babri Masjid was “unlawful.”

“We strongly reject such a vulgar celebration of hate, bigotry and chauvinism,” said IAMC President Ahsan Khan, opposing AIPAC’s celebration. He called on Indian Americans to stand in solidarity with India’s religious minorities. He also said that it was unfortunate that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “seized power by fanning Islamophobia and hatred of non-Hindus.”

In the protest call statement, Khan iterated that The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India has organized a massive protest at 6:30 PM at Times Square on August 5 against the “display of Hindutva Supremacy” by AIPAC. He mentioned that AIPAC is advocating its “own religious freedom in the US” and are “bigots doing everything possible to turn India into a majoritarian Hindu state.”

The Coalition highlighted that Modi has brought India to the medieval ages “when the destruction of places of worship and mass murder of faith-based communities was the order of the day.” It further recalled that the BJP government in India is bent on relegating Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities to the status of “second-class citizens” and therefore people of conscience must protest against every such celebratory event, including the one by AIPAC in New York to mark the building of Ram temple.

“Choosing August 5 to do so is a new act of aggression against Kashmiris,” said Ms Ania from CAFI. She outlined that as India completes one year of abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, the inauguration of the temple is actually a “celebration of power to hate and hurt with impunity.” She added that it is actually, “aggressive gloating over Indian Muslims and all others who cherish secular pluralistic culture” of India. She stated that the strategic placing of Ram temple ceremony on August 5, while Kashmir has been witnessing the world’s “longest and most brutal lockdown and untold human suffering” from this day in 2019, is “inflammatory.”

Speaking about the pogrom against Muslims in New Delhi in February 2020, Imran Pasha of IAMC, New York, resonated that “Hindutva supremacists in India are akin to Ku Klux Klan in the US.” He added that “goons of BJP” led the Delhi riots while thousands of victims and protestors against the discriminatory Citizenship Act have been suffering a tremendous loss of lives and property.

In its ending statement to call citizens to protest against Ram temple foundation ceremony, The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India has strongly resonated its commitment “to ensuring that American institutions and discourse are safeguarded from the virulent Hindutva ideology.”

This story first appeared in “Two Circles” here.