Community groups rise up against Swastika bill in New York Senate

By SATimes Team

New York: Many Indian American community groups have intensified their campaign against the New York State Senate Bill that instructs “Swastika” to be taught only as a symbol of hate in public schools. They are angered and anguished because the millennia-old, holy symbol of Hindus, Jains and Buddhist is being maligned by the lawmakers who could not differentiate it from the Nazis’ Hakenkreuz, which the westerners erroneously started calling Swastika.

On March 12 an interactive Zoom meeting has been scheduled with New York lawmakers at the initiative of Kamlesh Mehta, who has taken a forefront seat for this cause.

The Hindu American Foundation, based in Washington DC, is  organizing a web event titled ‘Saving Our Symbols: Fighting NY’s Swastika Legislation’ on March 7 aimed at what we can do together to stop the bill in its current form in order to secure the safety and well-being of Hindu American students in New York.”

The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) brought together leaders from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain communities, along with lawmakers from New York State, for a town hall on Feb 23 and expressed grave concerns with the language in the bill while providing ways to educate the public and lawmakers about the real Swastika.

A WhatsApp group called Community Voice started by Bina Sabapathy has also been animatedly discussing ways to raise awareness and lobby and convince the state lawmakers to drop the bill in its current form and looking at legal ways to accomplish that.

The NY Senate bill was introduced last year by Senator Todd Kaminsky, cosponsored by Indian American Senator Kevin Thomas.

A Save Swastika group has also come up, joining the effort which has united all faiths in the community.

Image courtesy of Siam Pukkato

Share this post