By Muslim Mirror Network
The mayor of a New Jersey called the inclusion of a bulldozer at the rally celebrating Indian Independence Day last weekend “unacceptable” and demanded an apology from the group which organized the parade.
Samip Joshi, speaking to a group of concerned citizens and activists on Friday, said he recognised that the bulldozer’s inclusion in the procession served as a symbol of divide and demanded an apology from the Indian Business Association, which had organised the demonstration.
“I understand a bulldozer is a symbol of division and is absolutely unacceptable,” Joshi told the delegation made up of local residents and activists from the Indian American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations and Hindus for Human Rights.
“There is no place for that in Edison Township,” Joshi added.
“I would like to see an apology from the Indian Business Association,” Joshi said.
In a distressing trend that has seen authorities use excavators to destroy the homes of Muslim activists under the pretence that the buildings are illegal, bulldozers have come to symbolise hate in India over the past several years.
Joshi, who was present at the protest on August 14, claimed he noticed the bulldozer during the march but was oblivious to its significance.
“I only found out the next day what it meant,” Joshi told the delegation.
Activists and locals earlier urged the mayor to take action against the Indian Business Association, which organised the parade.
Activists criticised the presence as the guest of honour of the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the right-wing party in power in India, at a rally touted as a celebration of Indian independence.
“It was an extremist parade. If they want to have a Hindu right rally, then call it that,” one Indian American activist based in Edison, who asked to remain anonymous, told the mayor.
Even while the group expressed gratitude for the mayor’s readiness to listen to them and resolve their issues, a number of activists stated that an apology alone wouldn’t be enough for them.
“A hollow apology will not work. There is an urgent need to create a task force which can identify and mitigate bias and hate incidents,” the activist was quoted as saying by Middle East Eye.