The mayor of Edison township in United States’ New Jersey on Monday criticised the inclusion of a bulldozer by Hindutva groups during India’s Independence Day parade in the state on August 14, saying that “any symbol or action that represents discrimination is unwelcome”.

On August 16, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relation along with rights groups Indian American Muslim Council and Hindus for Human Rights had issued statements against the use of the bulldozer in the parade, describing it as a “brazen display of hate”.

The bulldozer used in the parade carried photos of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a placard with the words “Baba ka bulldozer” written in Hindi. Baba is a moniker often used for Adityanath.

In a statement on Monday, the mayor, Samip Joshi, said that parading the bulldozer was “a symbol of division and discrimination” while clarifying that the Independence Day parade was not sponsored by the township.

The event was organised by the Indian Business Association, Middle East Eye reported.

Joshi said his office was committed to celebrating and working in harmony with people from all cultures. “My office will be working with stakeholders to ensure that celebrations in the future serve the best interest of our community,” his statement added.

Over the last few months, Bharatiya Janata Party state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and civic bodies run by the party in Delhi have conducted several demolition drives under the guise of removing encroachments. Most of these drives were targeted at properties owned by Muslims.

While there are no provisions under Indian law to demolish the home of anyone accused of a crime, this pattern has been regularly observed across BJP-ruled states.