The Indian American community has expressed shock and is dismayed at the events that unfurled on Wednesday, January 6th on Capitol Hill. Supporters of President Donald Trump breached one of the most iconic American buildings, US Capitol, engulfing the nation’s capital in chaos after Trump urged the mob of rioters and domestic terrorists to fight against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that would confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
The rioters first breached exterior security barriers, and video footage showed protesters gathering and some clashing with police near the Capitol building. Soon, after breaching through barricades and security checkpoints, the protesters were inside the building — forcing lawmakers to go into lockdown.
The violent mobsters went door to door waving Confederate flags, looting the offices of senators and congressmen and repeating the false rhetoric that the president has spread since November — that Trump was the real winner of the election.
Smoke grenades were used on the Senate side of the Capitol, as police worked to clear the building of rioters. Windows on the west side of the Senate were broken, and hundreds of officers amassed on the first floor of the building.
The Capitol police officer in the House chamber told lawmakers that they may need to duck under their chairs and informed lawmakers that protesters were in the building’s Rotunda. Lots of House members were seen wearing gas masks as they moved between Capitol buildings. Members were calling family to say they were OK.
As the minutes turned to hours of violence, politicians called on Trump to instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol. In a Twitter video that was later removed, Trump told them to go home, but repeated that the election was “stolen” from him and said he “loved” the protesters.
The chaos on Capitol Hill, in which a police officer and four others died, has been widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans. “Our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we have seen in modern times,” President-elect Joe Biden said. He described it as “an assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself.”
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, was right when he finally stood up to Trump and warned the Senate that legislative moves to overrule voters by excluding some states in the Electoral College count “would damage our republic forever.”
Dr. SampatShivangi, president of the Indian American Forum for Political Education and a delegate for Trump, and a veteran leader of AAPI, called the events as “shameful, shocking and unprecedented in the history of once upon a beacon of democracy on the planet. Even though I am a strong Republican and longtime serving US Republican Party delegate for the last four Republican Party conventions, I would not support a bit in any fashion. Now with all that carnage, President Trump has promised for smooth transfer of power on January 20th and with that in mind it is time for healing and I feel President elect Biden and VP elect Ms. Harris should be magnanimous to accept that offer and initiate the first few steps in that process that will bring sanity and respect that US has lost in the world community,” Dr. Shivangi added.
Dr. Navin C. Shah, Founder and former President of AAPI, said, “The unlawful entry and banalization of the Capitol Hill, the temple of the US democracy is totally unacceptable. These culprits be immediately caught and brought to justice. The authorities of the Capitol Hill complex should take urgent actions to inhibit such a mob violence.” Dr. Shah calls for “cool minds of leaders and law makers prevail to have a peaceful transfer of power and address the serious issues, like Corvid 19, unemployment and poor economy, challenging millions of our citizens. For over 200 years the US has survived with the rule of law and constitution and it will go on successfully for many centuries to come.”
Dr. HetalGor, a Board Certified OB GYN in the state of New Jersey described the events as “Unconstitutional, Unbelievable, Unimaginable, and Unpatriotic.” Pointing that in the midst of pandemic, a rally was called on the day of electoral vote certification “with the sole purpose of stopping the count,” dr. Gor said, “Years of brainwashing, spreading misinformation, without any evidence calling election rigged when most judges have confirmed no irregularities, instigating the crowd to march to Capitol was home grown terrorism. Months back telling white supremacy groups to stand by, putting pressure on Vice President Pence to act unlawfully & unconstitutionally: all this for a selfish man’s injured pride. One man has caused so much damage to this country, bringing it shame, despair, dividing people, abusing power, disgracing the office. He is not only fit to be a president but an American .He should be impeached, the least we can do. In spite of all the obstacles , democracy prevailed,” added Dr. Gor.
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, condemned the behavior of the rioters as “deplorable that the President of the United States of America who lost the election incited his supporters to use violence and riots inside the Capital Building, the cradle of democratic institution, so as to keep his power and continue as the President. President Trump should have gracefully accepted the election results and hand over the power in a smooth transition.”
KhanderaoKand, Director of Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) USA, Founder of Global Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO), said, “I am shocked and saddened to see the unruly and violent protest in Washington DC. This is one of the worst un-democratic moment in the history of the world’s longest democracy.”
Mr. Anil Bansal, President of FIA (NY, NJ & CT) said, “As a non-white American, what I saw on my 65th birthday was no gift. Watching the dramatic visuals of thousands of Trump supporters, storming the US Capitol, my first reaction was to compare the stark difference between how the Black Lives Matter activists were treated versus the trump supporters. For the first time, I understood the word, “White Privilege.”
KanchanaPoola, past President of New York Tamil Sangam, lamented the lack of law and order on 1/6/2021, “which will go down in the history as the worst act by citizens, encouraged by a
sitting President who is unfit to be the leader, whose false claims of stolen votes.” Quoting a CNN reporter, who called Trump “A Sore Looser” Ms. Poola reminded of what President George Bush said: “Trump has made the most powerful country into a Banana Republic. But in those countries he would be removed immediately- but as long as these Republicans are in majority at Congress he will get away with it. Hope the Republicans learnt a lesson loyalty is not earned when they allow an unfit-man at the helm. Hope the Republicans have the back bone to do the right thing for the great country USA claims to be.”
Dr. Mathew Joys, Vice Chair of Indo-American Press Club, called the riots by Trump supporters, including some of Indian origin as “unfortunate.” Stating that it may be common for political, cultural, and religious rallies to be held to display the country’s flag in which they were born and raised. We have seen Malayalees carrying the Indian flag at the recent Democrat rallies and violent BLM rallies.The Indian flag was flown at the Capitol Building by a man I knew personally. Participating in such a Rally or bearing an Indian National Flag, only be viewed as a demonstration of our solidarity to the party or to the nation that feeds us.”
GunjanRastogi, past president of IALI and currently serving as the president of NIAASC described the event on Jan 6th as “Absolutely despicable and a stain on this country’s history.” Stating that Republicans and Trump supporters “prioritized party allegiance over acknowledging President Trump for who he truly is – a liar who has continually incited violence through his words and tweets” she called on all Americans – Republicans and Democrats alike – “must wake up and start electing officials based on character and actions, not for their associated party. President Trump must be held accountable for causing this unforgivable assault on the Capitol.”
Trump, who lost the Nov. 3 election by about seven million votes, called on his supporters on Wednesday to march on Congress, telling them at a rally that “you will never take back our country with weakness.”
What the pro-Trump rioters attacked was not only a building but also the Constitution, the electoral system, our democratic process. They humiliated the United States before the world and left America’s enemies chortling. They will be remembered as Benedict Arnolds.
Whatever a president’s rhetoric, he betrays the Constitution when he oversees a campaign to overturn a free election guaranteed by that Constitution, and when he galvanizes rioters to overpower our democratic process.
Trump summoned supporters to Washington and unleashed them as rioters on the Capitol as the Electoral College votes were being counted. “Be there, will be wild,” he tweeted. “Let’s have trial by combat,” his lawyer Rudy Giuliani told a rally of Trump supporters shortly before they stormed the Capitol. So pro-Trump crowds dismantled security fences and invaded the Capitol. You can call them rioters or terrorists or coup plotters, but they were not Making America Great Again.
A Reuters/Ipsos national public opinion survey, conducted Thursday and Friday, showed that seven out of 10 of those who voted for Trump in November opposed the action of the hardcore supporters who broke into the Capitol while lawmakers were meeting to certify the election victory of Democrat Joe Biden. Nearly 70% of Americans surveyed also said they disapprove of Trump’s actions in the run-up to Wednesday’s assault. At a rally earlier in the day, Trump had exhorted thousands of his followers to march to the Capitol.
The stunning display of insurrection was the first time the US Capitol had been overrun since the British attacked and burned the building in August of 1814, during the War of 1812, according to Samuel Holliday, director of scholarship and operations with the US Capitol Historical Society.
(Pictures Courtesy: LA Times & Business Standard)