Warm Welcome and Vehement Protests Greet Prime Minister Modi During His 7th U.S. Visit
- As crowds gathered to welcome him in D.C. and New York, protestors demonstrated against fascism, hate campaigns, weaponized rape, apartheid, lynchings, unlawful arrests, attacks on the media, and other abuses in India as Modi addressed the UN General Assembly.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his three-day visit to the U.S. on Sept. 25. In Washington D.C., he met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris. During their first bilateral talks on Sept. 24, at the White House, Biden and Modi discussed COVID-19, climate change and Indo-Pacific security. Modi also held his first meeting with Vice President Kamala Devi Harris, where the two leaders reiterated the importance of the U.S.-India partnership during their joint press appearance on Sept. 23.
The Indian Prime Minister also participated in the first in-person summit of Quad leaders, He also met with executives of five companies, including two Indian Americans — Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation and Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO of Adobe.
In New York, Modi addressed the 76th UNGA session where he highlighted pressing global issues, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, and climate change.
And like in his past visits, Modi was welcomed to the U.S. with bouquets and brickbats. When he arrived at the Joint Andrews Airbase in the nation’s capital on Sept. 22, exuberant members of the Indian diaspora were present to cheerfully welcome him. A similar scene was repeated in New York, where Indian Americans gathered outside Modi’s hotel to get a glimpse of him. Loud chants of “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” were heard, news reports said. Modi was also seen waving at a crowd upon his arrival.
Outside the United Nations, Modi was met with protests from human rights groups decrying the persecution of Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and other minorities in India. Demonstrators protested fascism, hate campaigns, weaponized rape, apartheid, lynchings, unlawful arrests, attacks on the media, and other abuses in India as Modi addressed the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25.
According to a press release from Hindus for Human Rights, one of the 21 organizations co-sponsoring the rally, “more than 100 members of interfaith and human rights groups spoke” and “condemned the egregious human rights violations and murders of religious minorities in India under a government that openly supports Hindu supremacy.”
Among protestors were author and writer Aatish Taseer, who attended the rally “because of the unprecedented assault on press freedom.” Taseer, who said he has been “the target of this regime,” can “no longer go back to the country I grew up in—can no longer see my 91-year-old grandmother.” Adding that millions in India have gone through what he has, Taseer said: “But what Modi has done to me he has done to millions of my countrymen and that is why there is now such a broad coalition of people who want to see him go.”
Sunita Viswanath, the co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights, also participated in the rally. She held a sign saying “Real Hindus Don’t Lynch,” “because the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t represent all Hindus, all Indians. He doesn’t represent me.”
Audrey Truschke, Associate Professor of South Asian History at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, spoke against “the hateful political ideology known as Hindutva.” Noting that “Hindutva has many vices – misogynist, casteist and violent, she said “Hindutva’s unique harm in the South Asian landscape is that it is fascist.”