Event Brings Muslim Indians’ Struggle to Attention of Minnesotans
By Zafar Siddiqui, Engage Minnesota
“Impunity and the Struggle for Justice in India,” an event sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA), was a great success.
About 90 people attended the program.
The July 12 event began with the recitation of verses from the Qur’an. After that, Dr. Hyder Khan gave an update on the newly formed Minnesota chapter of Indian Muslim Council – USA. The executive committee of the local chapter is managed by President Dr. Syed Mustafa Shahkhan, Vice President Airaj Ahmed, Secretary Syed Mohammad Asim, and Treasurer Hamed Vaseem. IMC-USA now has 14 chapters nationwide and is working to establish more.
The night’s program featured the award-winning documentary Encountered on Saffron Agenda. This documentary highlighted the extra-judicial killings of Muslims by the government of Gujarat—a state in western India—in connivance with the state police.
R. B. Sreekumar, who was the Additional Director-General of Police in Gujarat, spoke about his efforts to bring to light the complicity of the Gujarat government in the genocide of Muslims in 2002. More than 2,000 Muslims were killed by rampaging Hindu extremist mobs who were aided by the police and the government machinery.
The second invited speaker was Teesta Setalvad. She is a Mumbai (Bombay)-based civil rights activist, journalist and educator. She left her journalism career after witnessing the carnage of Muslims in Bombay in the early nineties. Since then, she has been tirelessly working to expose the merchants of hate in India. She talked about the incredible increase in the power and influence of forces of hate in India. She also highlighted the efforts that are being made to counter Hindu extremism through educational and legal initiatives.
She received a standing ovation after her speech.
In a related happening, Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum, in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dated July 8, has asked for a repeat denial of a visa to Narendra Modi. “In light of Mr. Modi’s long documented record of violations of religious freedom in India, I am writing to urge the Department of State to deny Mr. Modi a visa to enter the United States” said the letter. (Read the letter.)
The Minnesota chapter of IMC-USA plans to hold more educational seminars and programs to increase awareness about the 200 million Muslims in India who continue to face steep challenges to their life and property.
More information about IMC-USA activities can be found at www.imc-usa.org.