The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed a resolution condemning India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The resolution, introduced by Indian American City Council member Kshama Sawant, urges the Parliament of India to uphold the Indian Constitution by repealing the CAA, and to stop the NRC, and take steps towards helping refugees. Sawant said the resolution expresses solidarity with Seattle’s South Asian community regardless of religion and caste, while reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city.
“Our movement against the dangerous rise of the far right globally has made history today, with the Seattle City Council unanimously approving my resolution condemning the Islamophobic and anti-poor policies of the BJP and Modi regime in India,” Sawant told India Abroad. “The only way to defeat the right - whether it's Trump or Modi - is to build a genuine left alternative, which concretely means building a new party that unites and represents working people, not the wealthy.”
Announcing the City Council’s decision on Feb. 3, Sawant, on her Facebook page wrote: “In solidarity with movements in India and in the United States fighting the dangerous and Islamophobic policies of India's far- right Hindu fundamentalist regime, my office brought a resolution to the Seattle City Council. Today the City Council unanimously approved our movement's resolution, despite a mass mobilization by the Hindu right wing. When we get organized as a movement and unite to fight, we win! This is historic, because it's the first such legislation passed by a body outside India. Let's make sure it's not the last!”
In an earlier interview with this correspondent, Sawant, discussing India’s new citizenship laws, said that ‘these are policies of the far-right Modi government will strip 200 million Muslims of their Indian citizenship, in addition to others in the country.”
Sawant said “Modi has a long track record of promoting violence and discrimination towards Muslim people, women, members of the LGBTQA community and the poor and the lower caste,” adding that “his policies use xenophobia to drive right-wing demagoguery much like Donald Trump.”
She told this correspondent that Seattle’s South Asian community had requested that the city council speak out on this issue, “because, it is the duty of ordinary people to oppose the dangerous rise of the far-right everywhere in the world.”
She said the rapidly building authoritarianism of the Modi government in nuclear armed India is of concern, not only to the millions of Muslims in India, but also to Seattle’s s immigrant South Asian Muslim community.
Thenmozhi Soundararajan, founder of Equality Labs, which organized the community in support of resolution, welcomed its passage. She told the Press Trust of India that “We are proud of the Seattle City Council for standing on the right side of history today. Seattle is leading the moral consensus in the global outcry against the CAA.”
On her Facebook page Soundararajan wrote: We did it!! The Seattle City Council votes to pass resolution 32196 that condemns the CAA and NRC. It is the first resolution of its kind and it would not have been possible without the intercaste and interfaith coalition that helped to make this happen.”