The community members discussed issues faced and ways to get more involved in the city
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) officials along with other Indian community organizations were invited to the New York City Hall on March 1st to discuss issues of the Indian community and perspectives on how the community can be involved in the city. It all started with GOPIO’s condemnation of the defacing of Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Union Square Park in February and GOPIO requesting Mayor Eric Adams to increase police presence in the park area as well as to apprehend and punish the culprit.
The City Hall was represented by Mayor Adam’s Chief Advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi. The Indian community delegation was headed by GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham along with GOPIO-Manhattan Executive VP Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, VP Dr. Vimal Goyle and Treasurer Braj Aggarwal as well as GOPIO-New York Chapter Chair Lal Motwani and President Beena Kothari. Other community representatives were Association of Indians in America (AIA) President Gobind Munjal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Executive Director Sudhir Vaishnav, Bhakti Center Program Coordinator Kartikeya Parashar, Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA) President Ketan Shah, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir National Coordinator for Public Affairs Girish Patel and Mukund Mehta, President of India Home and Indo-American Senior Citizen Center of New York.
Issues brought out during the discussion with the mayor and his officials included discrimination, civil rights violations and violence against religious institutions in New York City. Chief Advisor Lewis Martin suggested setting up a committee from the community to work closely with NYPD on some of these issues.
One major part of the discussion was on how to bring businesses from India to set up their offices in New York City. The delegation told city officials that many Indian companies are setting up business outfits in the US and that Indian Americans in NYC can serve as a bridge to reach out to businesses in India. It was suggested that whenever trade and business delegations come to New York, City’s International Affairs Department must reach out and hold meetings with them. A business promotion committee headed by Dr. Abraham was nominated along with Prof. Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Sudhir Vaishnav, Mukund Mehta, Ketan Shah and Karthikeya Parashar for the same.
The delegation also suggested the city officials continue with the Diwali celebration and hold a special celebration from the City for the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence to honor the largest democracy of the world.