Facts versus Fiction, an engaging panel discussion
Los Angeles, February 9, 2020 – In a standing room only Skyline hall inside the Cerritos Public Library, more than 120 people attended to listen to a panel of experts on the recently legislated Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the Government of India.
The event started with Dr. Amit Desai, BVM moderator, introducing the esteemed speakers and invited them to take a seat on the stage.
Dr. Amrit Nehru, founder of Kashmiri Hindu Foundation, explained the necessity of CAA from a historical perspective including the various genocidal pogroms carried out by Pakistan. Dr. Jashvant Patel, a physician and community activist, followed up by presenting the horrors of partition of India and how vulnerable religious minorities within Pakistan and Bangladesh benefit from the gift of CAA. He reiterated the fact that the existing Indian citizenship cannot be taken away by any law. Shri. Sanmay Mukhopadhyay, community activist, gave his own family’s frightening experience from East Pakistan (modern Bangladesh) both in 1947 and during 1971 and explained how CAA benefits Hindu, Sikh, Jain and other religious minorities from Islamic countries.
The honorable Consul General of India based in San Francisco, Ambassador Sanjay Panda gave the keynote speech highlighting facts on CAA. He referenced India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru on the need for a Citizenship Amendment Act. He traced the work of multiple administrations under various Indian Prime Ministers to create a framework in which persecuted religious minorities are given a quicker path for citizenship.
“The need for a National Register of legal citizens is something every county has, what India plans to do is no different,” said Ambassador Panda.
Among distinguished guests in the audience was the honorable mayor of the city of Cerritos, Mr. Naresh Solanki. Leaders from Sikh, Jain communities, Hindu temple executives and political candidates aspiring to elected offices were also present.
Dr. Amit Desai and Mr. Pravin Tanwar moderated the 45 minutes of Q&A. Most of the questions were related to media bias against India. The panel of experts acknowledged the need to engage and educate media and strategic think tanks with facts on CAA. The role of malignant actors in spreading fake news and its impact on uninformed policy makers were acknowledged.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 so that Indian citizenship can be conferred to the persecuted religious minorities such as Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian who sought refuge in India from the neighboring Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014.
Bharatiya Vichar Manch’s mission is to promote dialogue by which Dharmic philosophy, culture, and traditions can positively influence global thought and action.
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