Indian Americans to protest Modi's Houston visit

Thousands of Indian Americans will gather to protest Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Houston on Sunday, September 22, Sikhs for Justice has announced.

“We are a bona fide group of Indian Americans with roots in India, and not connected with any other nationality or separatist causes,” the AJA said in a statement released on Saturday. “We have one and only one agenda: to expose the undemocratic, anti-people and anti-minorities agenda of Mr. Modi’s government and BJP party.”

The AJA comprises Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, Sikh, and Christian groups, among others. They include the Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a progressive Hindu group that opposes Hindutva; the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC); and the Organization for Minorities of India.

“We are horrified that our being hijacked by extremists and nationalists who are lynching Muslims, trampling on democracy and law and order, and arresting if not murdering those who are speaking out,” said Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights.

Several U.S.-based civil rights organizations have announced they will also join AJA’s protests. These include Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Black Lives Matter. The AJA protest will focus on the Indian government’s brutal crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir, where thousands of Kashmiri Muslims, including children, have been incarcerated; hundreds have been tortured by the police and Indian soldiers; and a communications blackout has been imposed.

“India’s crackdown on Kashmir comes even as violence against India’s social and religious minorities — Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and Adivasis — has escalated massively in the five years since Mr. Modi has been Prime Minister,” said the AJA.  “This is a recipe for disaster and a threat to India’s integrity.”