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