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NYPD asks for case dismissal in Phaghwa Parade controversy

BY Sadef A Kully

The city’s Legal Department has requested that the Hindu Parades & Festival Committee’s court petition against the NYPD be dismissed on the grounds the Queens Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the reinstatement of the revoked parade permit.

The Hindi Parades group filed a court petition against the NYPD, the city and Federation of Hindu Mandirs after HPFC’s permit for the Phaghwa Parade scheduled for March 15 was revoked by the NYPD and the 106th Precinct inspector deputy even though it had already been approved.

For the first time in 27 years the Phaghwa parade was canceled, disappointing Hindu community revelers in Richmond Hill, other parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

A conference was held between the Hindu Parades & Festivals Committee, Arya Spiritual Center, legal counsel for the city, the NYPD, and the Federation of Hindu Mandirs March 19 at the Queens Supreme Court, according to court records. Supreme Court Justice Kevin Kerrigan oversaw the proceedings and mediated.

“These power-drunk men have ruined it,” said Roy Singh, vice president of the Hindu Parades & Festivals Committee, whose parade permit was challenged by a rival Hindu group. “We will continue to fight the deputy inspector. It is not right that they get away with this.”

According to court documents, 106th Precinct Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff said two parade permits were filed in October from the Hindu Parades group, which teamed up with Arya Spiritual Center, and the Federation of Hindu Mandirs March 8. The Federation of Hindu Mandir’s permit was denied and the NYPD approved the HPFC parade permit until it realized that there were two applications from the Hindu Parades group for the same parade, each with a different contact person. Due to the conflict, the NYPD canceled both permit applications submitted by the duo, according to Schiff’s affidavit.

The Federation of Hindu Mandirs withdrew its appeal and applied for another parade permit for March 15. The Hindu Parades group then followed suit by applying for the same day. Both applications are currently pending even though the parade date has passed, according to court documents.

The Corporation Counsel, the NYPD, and the Federation of Hindu Mandirs have requested the complete dismissal of the entire petition on the ground that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the HFPC and Arya Spiritual Center’s claims against the city because they are moot, according to the city’s court motion memorandum.

According to court sources, the conference did not end with a resolution and another court appearance has been scheduled for April 2.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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