NEW DELHI: The Indian community in Seattle encountered section of the American polity led by Pramila Jayapal and Kshama Sawant and watered down a resolution in Seattle city council against Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA earlier this month.
While the council passed a resolution urging India’s Parliament to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and to stop the National Register of Citizens (NRC) with the 5-0 vote, intervention by the Indian community leaders watered down resolution and result the voted being passed by 5-0 instead of 9-0, ET has learnt.
Sawant who serves on the Seattle City Council was the brain behind the resolution. She is a member of Socialist Alternative. A former software engineer, she ran unsuccessfully for the Washington House of Representatives before winning her seat on the Seattle City Council. She was the first socialist to win a citywide election in Seattle since Anna Louise Strong was elected to the school board in 1916.
The Seattle City Council is the legislative body of the city of Seattle, Washington. The Council consists of nine members serving four-year terms, seven of which are elected by electoral districts and two of which are elected in citywide at-large positions; all elections are non-partisan.
The community members did not belong to any political group and was spontaneous in their moves, according to Atul Tankha, a former development professional from Seattle who was one of Indian Americans who garnered support against Jayapal and Sawant. “When we became aware of this resolution Indians who are opposed to this resolution gathered spontaneously. We gathered at the Council meeting on Monday and presented our views. This forced the Council to water down the resolution,” Tankha told ET over phone from Seattle.
“On January 22 I opened a short three minute video from a friend in Chicago, to see a fiery lady addressing the very liberal Seattle council…Many others in Seattle watched the same video and go in touch with the lady Ms Archana. We met later in the evening, a group of largely apolitical individuals. The vote had been postponed to the 3rd February so we had about 10 days to come up with a response.”
“Since the hall could hold only 125 persons it was imperative that we reach early at 5am in freezing temperatures and waited outside till the door were opened at 7am. Others were involved in preparing food, transportation and other logistics. The hearings started at 2pm so people, many of them seniors were standing in line for up to nine hours. Our strategy paid off an we were the first 40-50 speakers… We fought this battle as individuals with a common purpose but we are now determined to organize and expand our influence within the constantly increasing American Indian community,” he recalled.