**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Broad coalition of South Asians in North America stages public rejection of Modi and the Hindutva agenda
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY, September 23, 2014— A broad spectrum of South Asian residents in the United States have registered their emphatic rejection of the BJP and the Hindutva agenda while many Indian Americans have announced their intention to give India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi the “rock star treatment” when he arrives in NYC for the opening of the UN session next week.
A coalition of organizations and individuals under the umbrella Alliance for Justice and Accountability are planning a rally, demonstration and press conference outside the Madison Square Garden at [7th Avenue between 32nd and 31st Street] from 9:30 am onwards on Sunday, September 28th. Protesters are chartering buses to arrive in New York City from New Jersey, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia.
“Let’s make sure the world knows that the folks celebrating Modi do not represent the Indian American diaspora. We cannot let the BJP be our voice, and hateful ideologies be our values.” says Sonia Joseph, an organizer with the South Asia Solidarity Initiative in NYC.
Modi’s previous planned visit to New York City in 2005 had to be cancelled when his visa was denied because of his role in the mass atrocities against the Muslim community in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister of the state. Now he is protected by diplomatic immunity as India’s head of state.
The Ghadar Alliance (another umbrella organization based in the West Coast) have recently put out a 100-day report evaluating Modi’s first 100 days in office. With meticulous research, the data-driven report details the ways in which the new government has dismantled democratic protections, while increasing corporate giveaways. The full report can be found here:http://www.modifacts.org/
While Modi was elected on a pro-development platform, protesters’ motivation is to unmask the NaMo-Shining Gujarat brand. The organizers’ approach to this goal is twofold: First, by refusing to allow the thousands killed, raped and displaced by the Gujarat massacres be forgotten; they are calling for him, along with other government and police officials implicated in the events of 2002, to be made accountable for crimes against humanity. Secondly, they seek to highlight widespread concerns about the neoliberal development program itself as a flawed model with a poor track record for India.
“The so-called Gujarat model is based on increased privatization that enriches a tiny elite while relying on the disenfranchisement of the poor and the marginalized, including a large cross-section of Dalit, tribal, farmers and the urban poor,” says Kaleem Kawaja, one of the organizers. Organizers also emphasize that their objections are not personal or limited to Modi as an individual, but rather to the agenda associated with the BJP/RSS/Hindutva as a whole.
FB event page : https://www.facebook.com/events/679894935412495/