Indian-origin Politician Shiva Ayyadurai Draws Flak Over Boston Rally

first_imgShiva Ayyadurai, a Republican candidate for the US Senate, came under heat from South Asian American groups for his participation in Boston Free Speech rally that was held on August 19. Coming from the shadows of Charlottesville violence, the Boston Free Speech Rally, organised by right wing groups, featured members of Ku Klux Klan and other speakers with ties to extremist elements, amid fears that it was another white supremacist rally.The Charlottesville violence left one dead and 19 anti-racism protesters injured when a car rammed into them. The Free Speech Rally faced criticism even before it was held, with Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh and police speaking about the need to counter hate and bigotry.Criticism Against Shiva AyyaduraiAhead of the event, South Asian American groups such as The Dalit American Coalition, The Alliance for Justice and Accountability, South Asia Solidarity Initiative and Alliance of South Asians Taking Action released statements saying that they are “outraged by Ayyadurai’s complicit endorsement of Nazi hate speech and want to clearly reaffirm that he in no way speaks for the larger Dalit American, Indian American, South Asian American, or Asian American communities.”Their statement added that they stand in solidarity “unequivocally with our black, brown, indigenous, queer, white ally, trans, and gender non-conforming folks who will bravely be protesting and protecting our communities”.Ayyadurai’s ResponseShiva Ayyadurai responded by providing a 12-minute video of what he said at the Free Speech rally to the Boston Herald newspaper, saying that speakers on side of free speech were unfairly branded as racist, and reiterated that black lives do matter.In the video, he is seen making remarks such as: “In 1982, I fought the Ku Klux Klan — right here as an activist. I fought racism at MIT when MIT had investments in South African Apartheid. Does that sound like a white supremacist?”The video provided by Ayyadurai shows two rally participants, who were separated from counter-protesters by police barriers, holding up ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs, according to Boston Herald. Some minorities were also visible in the rally.Ayyadurai, a scientist-entrepreneur who went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called Democrat politicians Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid as the real racists. His own campaign page says: “I stand before you as someone who is a personification of the American Dream. My parents and I left the caste system of India in 1970 where we were considered low caste ‘Untouchables’ and ‘Deplorables’.”The South Asian American’s coalition statement acknowledged this: “Shiva Ayyadurai has also been vocal about his oppressed caste identity. While we do not doubt that his identity has exposed him to discrimination based on caste, we do not believe that gives him license to support bigots and Nazis.”Photo Credit: Wikimedia CommonsCounter-protesters at Boston RallyThe turnout at the rally was dismal. Only 50 people participated in the actual rally while a whopping 40,000 counter-protestors, comprising Black Lives Matter activists, left-leaning groups and Bostonians, flooded the streets. Seeing this, Boston Mayor Walsh later said in a press conference: “It’s clear today that Boston stood for peace and love, not bigotry and hate.”John Medlar, who claims to be one of the organisers of the event, wrote in a Facebook post: “Mayor Walsh recklessly whipped thousands of decent well-meaning fellow Bostonians into a frenzy by spreading lies about us. Would’ve completely proven him wrong if police hadn’t been ordered to keep press and our supporters out. I wonder where that order came from.” Related ItemsAlliance for Justice and AccountabilityAlliance of South Asians Taking ActionBlack Lives MatterBoston Free Speech RallyCharlottesville violenceDalit American CoalitionKu Klax KlanLittle IndiaNRI racism USShiva AyyaduraiSouth Asia Solidarity Initiativewhite supremacistslast_img

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