By The SATimes Team
New York: The well-intentioned but ill-informed New York Senate Bill 6648 (a.k.a. #S2727) that had agitated the Indian community for being anti-Swastika has finally been dropped.
NYS Senator Kevin Thomas in a statement to The South Asian Times broke the good news: “After working together with South Asian and Jewish community leaders, cultural organizations, and other interfaith coalitions, the bill sponsor (of S6648 a.k.a. S2727)) is discontinuing the bill to avoid perpetuating misunderstanding and misuse towards the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Native American communities.”
On receiving a call from Senator Thomas Thursday, United Front of Indian Americans in North America (UFINA) co-founder Kamlesh Mehta thanked and congratulated him for his initiative and cooperation in dropping the Hate Sign Bill. Consul General of India in New York, Hon. Randhir Jaiswal, messaged Mehta congratulating the community for the successful efforts in saving the Swastika.
A major error against the historic facts of the auspicious Sanatan symbol of harmony and well-being has been avoided in time. New York State Democratic Committee Chairman J. Jacobs had also assured the community on March 10 in a Zoom meeting that the Hate Sign Bill will not go anywhere.
Indian American community is relieved and delighted by the good news right before Holi.
Notably many community leaders including Dr. Uma Mysorekar, co-founders of UFINA Kris Rudra, Mukesh Modi, Dr. Jay Sarkar, Dr. Raj Bhayani, and Balaji Nagraj, Vibhuti Jha, Nilima Madan, Bina Sabapathy, Uma Sengupta, Sridhar Shanmugam, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Dr. Ravi Goyal, and Pradeep Tandon were active in the campaign against the Bill. Organizations such as CoHNA and HAF besides UFINA were also working to stop this bill.
In his statement, Senator Thomas clarified the intention of the bill: “Educating students about hatred, racism, and bigotry is essential. This is even more urgent, given the recent increase in hate crimes against the Jewish and Asian American communities within the State of New York. Bill S6648 was introduced with the intention of fostering a more inclusive and tolerant society by teaching students to recognize symbols of hate,”
However, he continued, “Any policy that is intended to help combat hatred, anti-Semitism, and racism through education must be mindful of the context of symbols across different religions and cultures.”
The bill had included Swastika as a hate sign because of its misplaced association with the Nazi flag and symbol which is called Hakenkreuz.
Said Senator Thomas “Now more than ever, it is vital that we equip our children with proper knowledge about world cultures and religions, and recommit ourselves to fighting hatred and bigotry in all forms.”