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Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Gujarat Genocide

WHAT: Candlelight Vigil WHEN: Saturday, March 3, 2012 (4.30 PM – 7 PM)
WHERE: Union Square (Gandhi Statue, Union Sq West & 14th Street), New York, NY

For Immediate Release

Contacts: Biju Mathew: 917- 232 8437; Dr. Shaik Ubaid: 516-567-0783; Misbah Mirza: 201-334-2524; gujarat10anniv@gmail.com

NYC area Indians and Human Rights Activists Invoke Gandhi
to Mark 10th Anniversary of the Gujarat Massacre of 2002

Demanding Justice for the Victims and the Arrest of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi

Several hundred Indian Americans will head to the Gandhi Statue at Union Square on Saturday March 3 to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Gujarat Massacre in which over 2000 Muslim men, women and children were killed by organized mobs of the Hindu right wing under the protection of the Chief Minister (CM) of the Indian State of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. Over 100,000 Muslims were displaced from their homes as a result of this pogrom. The attacks, massacres, rapes and displacement were extensively covered in the international media. Scathing reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as well as the Indian human rights organizations pointed out that the massacres and gang-rapes were coordinated, organized, and sanctioned.

"We are gathering at the Gandhi statue because the Indian government and society needs to decide whether it believes in Gandhi's worldview or Modi's," said Nazeer Syed, a volunteer with the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) one of the over 40 organizations behind the mobilization.

These organizations came together in 2005 under the name Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) and campaigned
successfully to get the US State Department to refuse Narendra Modi a visitor’s visa, and to revoke his diplomatic visa. This was unprecedented for a politician of Modi’s stature. "We did not back down then, and we see no reason to now," said Dr. Svati Shah of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative. "We are mobilizing to reiterate that any nation that allows a mass murderer to remain in power has, at the minimum, a deeply flawed democracy," she added.

The list of NYC area luminaries who will attend the demonstration also points to the growing sentiment both inside and outside the Indian American community that all is certainly not well, despite India's 8% economic growth rates. Amongst those who will speak at the demonstration include Bhairavi Desai, Head of the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance, Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, President of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York, Joe Lombardo, National Co-chair of United National AntiwCoalition, Rev. Mark Lukens, the President of The Interfaith Alliance of Long Island, and leaders of the Coalition Against Genocide.

"We will end the demonstration with a silent vigil," says Habeeb Ahmad of the Muslim Peace Coalition USA. "Each candle at the vigil will be memory of the thousands who died... but it will also bear witness to our hope. We have waited ten years. We certainly do not want to wait another decade," Ahmed who is a human rights commissioner with Nassau County added.
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