August 15, 2020
Dear Consul General Randhir Jaiswal,
Congratulations on your appointment as the new Consul General of India, New York. We are very pleased to welcome you to the great city of New York and in a very important role.
We represent Indian American diaspora through our devotion to upholding democracy, secularism, pluralism and progressive values of India. Collectively, we also firmly believe in upholding human rights in our communities — including in India.
We are writing to you as an inclusive and diverse voice of the Indian diaspora. On the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day, we share our deep concerns about the state of democracy and human rights in India, the country of our origin, and a country which we love.
We wish to have a meeting with you, and to open up a dialogue with the members of the government with the sole intent of finding and contributing to some solutions. Some of our concerns are enunciated below:
- Increasing mob violence towards India’s Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, and other minorities since 2014, as per reported data.
- Discriminatory citizenship laws (CAA and NRC) which threaten the disenfranchisement of India’s Muslim citizens, most of whom have never known another home, and also threaten Dalit and Adivasi communities, India’s poor, migrant workers, LGBTQ community and women.
- Increasing targeting and arrests of activists, journalists and intellectuals simply because they are exercising their constitutional right to express dissent peacefully.
- Increasing indications and explicit statements about India as Hindu Rashtra and Brahminical society that stands contrary to India’s foundational values as laid down in India’s Constitution.
- Lack of a systemic approach in controlling the COVID19 spread, whereby now, India is ranked at the top spot in number of positive cases.
- Complete and systematic neglect of COVID-19 frontline workers such as nurses, doctors, sanitation workers, and other public health workers.
- Lack of government accountability and transparency in informing the people of India about the recent encroachment of Chinese forces into India’s territory.
- Lack of support to farmers community in India that consistently report suicide and farmers distress in said population.
- Increased assault on labor rights, lack of employment opportunities for India’s youth, sale of public sector firms, and massive layoffs.
This Independence Day, we find ourselves saddened by the state of affairs in India, and are working hard to stand up for the Constitution and the vision of India’s founding fathers and mothers.
Those of us who are raising our voices about these issues of human rights, striving for communal harmony and the very secular identity of India have nothing but the best for our beloved country, India. It is our love for the people of India that we feel compelled to share our concerns with you. We believe, together we can make India achieve it’s true potential and as members of civil society with different perspectives, we hope to play an important and integral part in the development and growth of a united and progressive India.
We hope you will grant us a meeting so that we can discuss these issues and concerns. We look forward to working with you and your office on behalf of the Indian American diaspora.