San Francisco municipal body condemns CAA


By Arul Louis

New York, Jul 23 (IANS): In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic Party-run San Francisco municipal council has unanimously passed a resolution opposing India's Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and other legislations.

The resolution's sponsor, Gordon Mar, claimed before the vote on Tuesday that women, Dalits and gay and transgender people, along with Muslims, are being "imprisoned in massive detention centres" in India.

The resolution also opposed the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), calling them discriminatory.

The body is formally known as the Board of Supervisors and all its 11 elected members, who have the title of Supervisor, are Democrats.

The municipal body in the heart of the Silicon Valley linked the legislation in India and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to President Donald Trump in the resolution that claimed to "express solidarity with San Francisco's South Asian Community".

Mar claimed that "far-right Hindu nationalist sympathisers are Trump's largest immigrant donor base" and warned that "the Hindu Nationalist ecosystem extends to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley".

One of the Supervisors, Aaron Peskin, cautioned the municipal body about stepping into international affairs, but he nevertheless joined the other 10 Democrats in voting for the resolution.

"We should proceed with a matter like this very, very carefully," Peskin said, adding that he was "reticent to assume the role of a member of Congress" and reminded "my colleagues that we are not members of Congress".

San Franciso is dominated by the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is emerging powerful within the party and is trying to set the agenda regarding India.

Under the left's sway, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is to be the party's presidential candidate, has made an openly communal appeal to Muslim voters by raising the Kashmir and CAA issues in his "Agenda for Muslim American Communities".

Meanwhile, municipal bodies in Seattle in Washington state, St Paul in Minnesota, Cambridge in Massachusetts and Albany in New York have also passed similar resolutions pushed by Islamic organisations.

They have, however, been silent on the attacks on Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the human rights violations there.

Mar mentioned the $3 billion US arms deal with India while introducing the resolution that asked America to explore sanctions against India.

Moves against India by Democratic Party-controlled municipalities are also motivated by the party's opposition to Trump and the coming election.

The San Francisco resolution said: "President Trump's bigoted policies within the US including discriminating on religious grounds, targeting vulnerable communities, stripping citizenship, fabricating crises, and stoking hatred, have been mirrored by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party government, and their alarming ideology that Hindus are racially and culturally superior to others."

It also condemned what it said was Trump's "support for the repressive and discriminatory actions of the BJP government and refusal to denounce violence, those inciting violence, and those officials evading their duties to keep order and peace".

Showing the pitfalls of municipalities driven by local interests entering into international affairs, the resolution falsely claimed that the CAA, NRC and NPR discriminated against "caste oppressed, women, indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community".

One of the goals of the NRC is to protect the minority indigenous people -- the tribespeople -- in northeast India from being overrun by illegal migrants.

Persecuted minorities who are "caste oppressed," women and LGBTQ, as well as the predominantly Buddhist Chakma tribespeople from Bangladesh, are eligible for expedited citizenship under the CAA.

Muslim immigrants continue to be eligible for citizenship under the regular rules.

While the CAA gives expedited citizenship to Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists, the resolution said it "falsely claims will help refugees fleeing religious persecution from neighboring countries", and asserted that the NPR and NCR exclude Muslims.

  

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