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Washington DC, July 14, 2023: The 2nd National Hindu Advocacy Day on the Hill, a historic event organized by the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) at the US Capitol, saw lawmakers, community leaders, delegates, and researchers coming together in a packed room, to discuss the concerns Hindus living in the US face. More than 21 lawmakers (congressional reps and staffers) attended the July 11th events, which centered on Hinduphobia. It’s a problem that has been amplified via “caste” laws and policies that seek to profile Hindus in America, as well as rising levels of online hate from a globally connected set of networks associated with Khalistani and Islamist terror, which at times spills over into real life violence.

Echoing concerns from the attendees, Congressman Rich McCormick (R-GA) emphasized the need to pay attention to how, “there is discrimination not just by race but also by religion and Hinduphobia and intimidation of the Hindu community is an old problem.” He went on to highlight problems with new laws and bills like California’s SB403 being discussed that “are racist, discriminatory and divisive, since they seek to classify people in ways that the people themselves reject. This is not American and needs to be opposed,” he said.

“I believe strongly in freedom of religion for every individual and stand against any kind of attacks and phobia,” said Congressman Sri Thanedar (D-MI). He also spoke of the importance of ensuring representation for diverse groups and freedom of religion. “The Hindu religion is a peaceful one, yet it has been attacked and needs to be protected. Like others, Hindus deserve to be able to practice their religion without any kind of hate, prejudice or phobia. As a Congressman I myself noted the lack of a Hindu caucus and therefore helped create one,” Thanedar added.

CoHNA’s National Hindu Advocacy Day on the Hill was attended by American residents from 12 states across the country, who interacted with and heard from lawmakers from both sides of the aisle-Democrats and Republicans. Congressional Representatives who joined the day’s events included Rep. Hank Johnson(D-GA), Rep.Tom Keane(R-NJ), Rep. Rich McCormick(R-GA), Rep. Shri Thanedar(D-MI), Rep. Buddy Carter(R-GA) and Rep. Sanford Bishop(D-GA), as well as Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani.

Growing Need for Hindu Advocacy in the US

The talent and contributions that Hindus make to American society is universally recognized, and yet ignorance about Hinduism is widespread, and the community has increasingly found itself as the target of bigotry and hate. That is why last year, CoHNA held its first ever National Hindu Advocacy Day, bringing Hinduphobia to the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill and urging more American Hindus to speak up and get involved.

 “It’s been a productive year of advocacy for the Hindu community with states like Georgia and cities as far apart as Fremont, California and Memphis, Tennessee, seeking to educate about the problem with resolutions and proclamations against Hinduphobia. We also witnessed history as the growing popularity of Hindu festivals like Diwali led to the successful declaration of the festival as a holiday in New York City public schools,” said Nikunj Trivedi, President of CoHNA.

 “Our 2nd National Hindu Advocacy Day on the Hill builds on that promising start, but much more remains to be done as the community has seen itself come in the crosshairs, with the spread of policies and laws targeting the community via Hinduphobic concepts like caste. We have also seen fear and self-censoring spread in the community as it gets targeted in the online world and faces real-life violence from transnational actors such as the Khalistan terror groups,” he added.

Data Driven Presentations

Taking a data driven approach, the day showcased academics like Prof. Salvatore Babones, who also leads an international think tank, as well as senior researchers from Rutgers University’s Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI). The day wrapped up with an evening event where additional speakers from diverse backgrounds of faith and regions shared their findings and lived experiences.

While the many different strands of data presented during the day exposed flaws in the popular narrative surrounding Hindus via data manipulation, they shared a common thread in exposing how anti-Hindu tropes are being spread on social media and how information is being manipulated and weaponized against diaspora Hindu communities.

“The idea of ‘caste discrimination’ in America is strange at best, given the lack of proper data of any actual discrimination,” said Prof Babones, Executive director of the Indian Century Roundtable. “How do California lawmakers plan to figure out someone’s caste in the US, given that there are over 1100 scheduled castes, over 700 scheduled tribes and over 2500 castes in the OBC category just in India alone? Dalit is not a ‘caste’,” he added.

Senior NCRI researchers expanded on their path-breaking study published in 2022, sharing their research on incidents like the anti-Hindu violence in Leicester, UK in Fall of 2022 and the recent violence driven by Khalistani operatives in San Francisco and more. They also looked at who helps shape the “caste in the US” narrative.

“In February, after Seattle passed a law on caste, we noticed the emergence of non-American actors who were celebrating the issue - raising the concern about foreign influence networks influencing domestic public policy,” said Jack Donohue, Chief Operating Officer at NCRI. “This sentiment isn't new - in fact, our previous research on Iranian State Sponsored Troll operations found that messages surrounding caste which suggested 'Upper Caste' Hindus were oppressing all other communities were disseminated on Twitter."

 About CoHNA

CoHNA is a grassroots level advocacy and civil rights organization dedicated to improving the understanding of Hinduism in North America by working on matters related to the Hindu community and by educating the public about Hindu heritage and tradition. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at, on Facebook at and on Instagram at


Media Gallery
It’s been a productive year of advocacy for the Hindu community with states like Georgia and cities as far apart as Fremont, California and Memphis...
Nikunj TrivediPresident CoHNA
Pushpita Prasad