US NRI Leaders Demand Passing of Lok Pal Bill
American Leaders Demand Passing of Lok Pal Bill
Los Angeles, April 12, 2011
By Dilip Butani
Large number of American Indians joined the worldwide protest against corruption in India, supporting Anna Hazare’s fast for this great cause. In Cerritos Regional Park, Los Angeles, a candle light vigil was followed by a discussion about Anna Hazare’s fast and the current state of corruption in India.
Asian American leader and Chairman of USABF and FOSAAC, Kevin Kishore Kaul, said that “success of Anna Hazare’s fast to fight against corruption in India is a victory for all Indian Americans and Indians should see that their country is clean of all ills.”
This is the second time Indians celebrated within a week, the first being the cricket world cup championship, when about a thousand people gathered in different places of USA such as Los Angeles, Bay Area, New York and Seattle to celebrate the moment with rallies and candle light vigils.
Another organizer, Srihari Atluri led the pledge to encourage their families back home to vote for the right people in their constituency, not necessarily for the winning party. People For Loksatta-LA president Varma Dantuluri said that the root of the current problems is good people staying away from politics. It was also discussed that corruption exists as a result of not having strong law-enforcement in India and thus the corrupt know they can get away with it easily.
In Milpitas, San Francisco, around 150 people gathered at India Community Center and walked for two miles shouting “Anna Hazare Zindabad” and “Brashtachara Hatao Dhesh Bachavo” in the streets of Milpitas. Naren Bakshi, silicon valley entrepreneur and community leader and Jayaram Komati, president of Telugu Association of North America (TANA) addressed the people. Jeff Whittler, well known master of Bansuri and Sai Manapragada, Guinness book record holding singer supported the cause and gave performances. Event ended with public discussion forum organised by Sundeep Pattem and a mass pledge to continue the fight until Jan Lokpal bill is enacted.
In New York, around 400 people gathered at Times Square. It was a silent solidarity expressed for Anna under the tag of “NYC 4 Anna”. Participants collected 320+ signatures for a petition to be submitted to Indian govt (PM & relevant decision makers) via Indian Consulate in New York city.
In Seattle, Washington, the event commenced with an informative speech on Jan Lokpal Bill and the state of affairs by Pooja Tripathi, lead organiser of the event. Sudip Gorakshakar, Chairman of FIAWA, emphasized on the unity and strength of the people power. Prabha Sinha, renowned Indian TV actress, led the gathering to sing “Raghupati Raghav Rajaram” which was followed by many other inspiring songs by different groups. Participants ended their fast with lemon water and jalebis. Lavanya Reddy, President of FIAWA, encouraged everyone to take an oath with a “Zero Rupee Note” to neither give nor take a bribe.Event ended with lightingof the candles in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue at Bellevue Regional Library and singing Indian national anthem.
In Southern California, the events were organized and supported by many associations including India Community Center, India Against Corruption, Dandi March II team, People For Loksatta, FIAWA, USABF, Association for India ’s development (AID), and Washington Telugu Samiti (WATS). As per Indian American leaders, ‘turnover of thousands of people all over the world, has reinstated the belief in the power of the people to bring about a positive change in a democracy. According to them, the fight for corruption has just begun but the law makers need to be careful because Indians in every nook and corner of the world are carefully watching their actions and will not just watch passively if anything goes astray.’
Later in the evening, at the press conference held in USABF office, many American Leaders including Carol & David Hamilton, Edvard Akopyan, Pauline, Dennise Mathews, Johnathan Peppers and Greg, Daisy were present. They were joined by Indian American leaders that included Vishakha Purandare, Amrit Bhandari, Keshavlal Patel, Raoji Patel, Mike Patel and others.