Donald Trump
Donald Trump

EDISON, N.J. (Diya TV) — As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump catered to an assembled crowd of Indian-American supporters during a New Jersey rally on Oct. 15, a group of South Asian Americans stood outside the convention center in protest of the candidate, and his rhetoric toward minority groups in the U.S.

Posted at the entrance of the convention center, protestors carried signs which read: “End Caste Apartheid,” “Dump Trump,” and “South Asians Against Trump.”

“Diversity and inclusion are the principles that our party embraces,” said New Jersey state Assemblyman Raj Mukherji to the crowd of about 50 people. Mukherji lambasted Trump for his xenophobic views and his call for a “deportation force” which would round up both Mexicans and Muslims.

Mukherji, who serves as the lone Indian American representative in the New Jersey State House, said Trump does not support visa programs for highly-skilled foreign workers. The nominee has gone on record calling the visas “very bad for business.”

Also a former U.S. Marine, Mukherji said nearly every South Asian American he has come across plans to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in next month’s general election.

Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, also spoke to the assembled protest crowd. “Trump spews hatred, racism, anti-Muslim rhetoric, insults to women, and says that people aren’t welcomed here,” he said. “Trump is trying to get across the idea that if you’re Hindu, you’re anti-Muslim. That is not true. He’s trying to whip up anti-Muslim fervor,” he added, and asserted that the values of Trump are not in line with American values.

The protest was organized by South Asians for Hillary, and Amit Jani, a volunteer with the organization, took a few moments to deliver remarks to the assembled crowd as well.

“We don’t think it’s right for someone from out of the state to come here and raise political issues with our faith and say they speak for over 3.4 million Indian Americans across the country, even more Muslim-Americans, and the South Asian communities as a whole,” said Jani.

Inside the halls of the convention center, Trump appeared at the rally, which was titled “Humanity United Against Terrorism,” and was organized by Chicago businessman and Trump supporter Shalabh Kumar, who has personally contributed just under $1 million to the nominee’s campaign thus far. The rally was billed as a charitable event to raise funds for Kashmiri pandits and Hindu refugees from Bangladesh. Trump spoke after performances from several Indian Bollywood artists.

Back outside, Amit Jani said several of the 8,000 attendees who were at the rally were under the impression they were simply attending a Bollywood concert, and had not expected to hear a speech from Trump. He claimed that several of those in attendance began leaving soon after Trump walked out onto the stage.

“Donald Trump does not speak for the Hindu community or the South Asian community,” he said. “He really doesn’t understand our community or our region, whereas Clinton has made the Asia Pacific region her first priority.”

Community leaders Shariq Ahmad, Sam Khan, Imtiaz Syed, Raju Patel and Sunita Viswanath – of the Coalition of Progressive Hindus – also spoke at the protest rally.