Today News Online Service
New Delhi, March 25
Some spirited footwork by Indian-American businessmen and diplomats from the Indian consulate in Chicago stemmed the tide of resolutions criticising the Modi government’s policies being passed by city councils in America. A proposed resolution expressing the Chicago City Council’s solidarity with its South Asian community “regardless of religion and caste” failed on Wednesday.
The proposal fell by a 26-18 vote with several abstentions, which US analysts said was a tight call for a nonbinding resolution. Several American cities including Riverdale (Illinois), San Francisco, Seattle, Albany (New York) and St Paul (Minnesota) had last year passed resolutions, condemning the state violence in India.
The resolution, introduced by Maria Hadden, led to both sides of the Indian-American community getting involved in vigorous lobbying and reports said there was active assistance from Indian diplomats posted in the US. The US Ambassador to India Taranjit Sandhu is an old American hand having served there for over a decade in several postings.Hadden hinted at the involvement of Indian diplomats. “There were some concerns, hinted at by the Consul General, that maybe this would damage some relationships with the city. I’m uncertain if this has happened before but it’s not typical,”she said.
The resolution meant to condemn violence against certain castes and religious minorities in India. But some Chicago council members, including George Cardenas, did not want to get involved in matters 8,000 miles away. “If we take this on, why not take on the Chinese ethnic cleansing debate? We are a global city. But we have many pressing issues here at home that need our attention,” asked Cardenas.