A Council meeting was held in Edison, New Jersey, after citizens spoke against the use of bulldozer in the India Day Parade.
Following the bulldozer incident in the New Jersey town, citizens demanded that the annual India Independence Day demonstration in Edison be stopped and investigated.
The presence of a bulldozer at the rally celebrating Indian Independence Day was criticized by the mayor of a New Jersey town as being “inappropriate”. The citizens also demanded an apology from the group in charge of planning the procession in Edison.
Mayor Samip Joshi, speaking to a group of concerned citizens and activists on Friday, said he recognized that the bulldozer’s inclusion in the procession served as a symbol of divide. He then demanded an apology from the Indian Business Association, which had organized the demonstration.
“I understand a bulldozer is a symbol of division and is absolutely unacceptable,” Joshi told the delegation made up of local residents and activists from the Indian American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations and Hindus for Human Rights.
“I would like to see an apology from the Indian Business Association,” Joshi said.
Joshi, who was present at the protest on August 14, claimed he noticed the bulldozer during the march but was oblivious to its significance.
Joshi said his town would develop a screening procedure for future events but would not commit to barring further demonstrations. The activist informed the mayor that because there were Hindu nationalists living in the town, many Muslims were now uneasy there.
The Symbolism Behind Bulldozers
Bulldozers have come to represent hate in India over the past few years. These are a part of a troubling pattern in which authorities deploy excavators to destroy the homes and offices of Muslim activists under the excuse that the “buildings are illegal”.
Bishop Brown said, “We have a serious problem. We have children who are scared of going back to school because they worried about their hijabs will be pulled off their heads.”
“The bulldozer is a sign of oppression. He (Modi) talks about the RSS. And this is about Hindutva. The India Parade should have honored Nehru, Gandhi, etc. The bulldozer is used in several parts of India against minorities,” another individual added.
“A hollow apology will not work. There is an urgent need to create a task force which can identify and mitigate bias and hate incidents,” an activist told MEE after the meeting concluded.
Bulldozers have become a weapon in the hands of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to destroy homes and livelihoods of the minority Muslim community. And nowhere are these excavators more visible than in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh state.
Read More: Religion based violence in India
A few months back, authorities in the city of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) tore down the home of political activist Javed Mohammad. The authorities alleged that the home been illegally built – a claim his family denied. Bulldozers are being used all around India to demolish Muslim neighborhoods. Bulldozer use thus serves as a metaphorical backing for the crimes committed against minority people in India.