A doomsday for Democracy in Saint Paul, MN

The City of Saint Paul passed the resolution 20-712, labeling India Islamophobic.

The City of Saint Paul passed the resolution 20-712, labeling India Islamophobic.
The City of Saint Paul passed the resolution 20-712, labeling India Islamophobic.

Thousands of concerned Saint Paul, Minnesotans of Indian origin were disenfranchised from expressing their views and facts to the CC

Following the story titled A tale of two twin cities[1], the City of Saint Paul passed the resolution 20-712 on May 20, 2020, labeling India Islamophobic. In my view, it is the beginning of a doomsday politics for shunning democracy, promoting community divide, and the waning support for the democratic party locally and nationally. It is local politics with likely consequences nationally and maybe globally. But Why?

Locally, thousands of concerned Minnesotans of Indian origin were disenfranchised from expressing their views and facts to the CC and thus totally disrespecting democracy for which we stand for. How hypocritical and discriminatory of the CC that they invited a community activist in the virtual meeting on May 13 but denied us?

The CC members were very selective in presenting what suited their own convictions and beliefs and ignored hundreds of emails and letters sent to them presenting the facts.

Nationally, many Minnesota Indians including me, the diehard democrats, were let down by local democratic leaders who we have historically voted for. We are disappointed that the CC sold their conscience and/or succumbed to the influence of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) in passing the highly flawed resolution without objectivity. One can even speculate that the strong alliance between India’s political leadership and Trump’s Republican party may affect the outcome of the November elections. I say so because the current events and apathy by the Democrats are beginning to make me rethink if Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate will stand against global terrorism and Islamists as hard as we need to protect the interest of Hindus.

The main sponsor of the resolution, Jane Prince, publicly acknowledged that she worked very closely with CAIR-MN in drafting the resolution since February/March. She was on a secret mission in presenting a highly opinionated resolution while offering very limited time for the concerned citizens for consultation and feedback. As an example, the resolution states that Coronavirus is causing violence against Muslims in India. What is it if not the total ignorance of CC that the global pandemic does not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, nationality, and geographical location? Our local organization, India Association of Minnesota, was hard of help. Their letter to the CC was, at best neutral, non-committal, and apologetic without any rebuttal to the flawed and misconstrued facts. Undoubtedly, very disappointing for many.

With their vested interests and closedmindedness, the CC chose to vote for Hindu phobic ideology and slammed India, the largest democracy, and a natural ally of the United States in fighting global terrorism. The CC members were very selective in presenting what suited their own convictions and beliefs and ignored hundreds of emails and letters sent to them presenting the facts.

It is most ironic that the CC President introduced another resolution 20-788 prior to passing 20-712. The former resolution appropriately called for establishing a due process for resolutions, with an international dimension. However, the resolution 20-172 was not to put off until after such a process was developed? It was obvious that the CC was overwhelmed with about 15,000 messages in addition to hundreds of letters/emails, advocating both sides of the complex geopolitical issue and they admitted having limited time/resources to fully digest the facts.

The vote outcome, as damaging as it has been to Hindu cause, raises more questions for CC than the answers. For example:

  • What was the urgency during the unprecedented COVID-19 when the CC must be engaged about the escalating number of deaths and Corona positive patients and the economic challenges faced by the community?
  • Should the limited taxpayers’ resources be used in such extraneous resolution which is “symbolic” at best?
  • Why would CC sacrifice our ethos of ‘Minnesota Nice’, community harmony, respect for equality and equity, and democratic values in passing a resolution?
  • Are the cities like Saint Paul dreaming to become the United Nations of tomorrow in dealing with issues of international dimension?

In conclusion, the Saint Paul City Council disenfranchised many of us, violated open meeting law, and lost opportunity and responsibility of remaining objective? The Council’s divisive politics may not heal the community for many years to come.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] A tale of two twin citiesMay 20, 2020, PGurus.com

Vijendra Agarwal
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8 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks sir, for updating of things happening inside USA, keep updating us and do whatever you can to stop this, involved e other people, make it an international issue

  2. The community is making an effort to come together and take appropriate action. Seattle community was certainly our torching guide but we could not stop it from moving forward. Thank you Raghavan.

    • 1. We can work to get it repealed in Seattle.

      2. We can get a new resolution protecting all minorities.

      3. The Seattle and St. Paul resolutions must be amended so the body of the resolutions match the stated goal and rhetoric. Right now it’s just Hindu bashing.

      4. I’ve heard about Cambridge, Massachusetts and Albany, New York having similar resolutions but didn’t verify.

      5. We need to look at the nexus of media and these resolutions. Some printed glowing reviews very soon after they were passed so might have gotten a heads up or were part of the planning.

      6. Unlike these resolutions, the Patterson New Jersey city council ordinance on March 10, 2020 is just titled “noise” without any indication of the true purpose of the ordinance.

  3. The five Councillors of the City of Minneapolis (similar to those of Seattle) have just shown to the rest of US / world their ignorance, lack of intellect, and Hindu/India- Phobia. With demography changing in that location, appeasement has just took hold in US and citizens of the city, who are not part of this comical exercise, should take note how this has ruined India.

    Hard it may be, attention by Indian-Americans may give such laughable acts the focus they don’t deserve.
    Indian-Americans, through their organizations, may pass a similar resolution naming the City Council of Minneapolis as Hindu/India-Phobic.

    India owes to her citizens not to these jokers.

  4. Excellent perspective Vijendra. It is appalling indeed that the Council Members of St.Paul took this resolution in such a hurry in the middle of a pandemic when people regardless of their caste, color, religion, ethnicity are dying. I also believe the Council Members do not know that the organization CAIR has always been suspect of supporting political Islamist movements since their formation. Additionally, in 2014 they were declared as a terrorist organization by the UAE and multiple members have been arrested for terrorism links. Clearly divisive politics and vote banks is what the council members are looking at. Such a short term and narrow vision misguiding their own people. This will have an impact on the Nov elections.

  5. Asian Immigrants from the Indian subcontinent settled in USA are realigning to test their strengths and influence they can wield in dictating their political leanings in USA. Not too long ago, the same issue flared up in UK politics between the Labour and Liberal parties. This is no more a India vs. Pakistan politics spilling abroad but fighting lines are drawn to set the divide between Hindu vs. Muslims. The local American Democrats vs. Republican warlords fighting elections will assess which side carries the major % of votes to bring them to power. A new order will emerge.

  6. It is the beginning of the larger narrative expected in the coming days. When one cannot face an enemy and crush his designs best option is to side with him. I pity the plight of the so called Democrats of America who have to call themselves so and are no way even near to being seen as democratic on matters concerned to the World’s largest Democracy. Many such attempts to tarnish the image of India has failed in the past and shall meet the same fate in the future too.

    • Hi Anil, This is a dangerous assumption. Not because their efforts didn’t succeed in the past means it will not succeed in the future. If you take a bucket of water from a well everyday can you say water will always be in the well?

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