Thousands of Indian Americans joined a protest rally against
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sunday, during the Howdy Modi event, led by the
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 (OFMI).
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Black Lives Matter too
joined it. Judge William Bill McLeod,
who is currently running for
‘We are a bona fide group of Indian Americans with roots in
HfHR Co-Founder Sunita Viswanath said her organization was joining the protest because Hindus cannot accept human rights violations in the name of Hinduism.
‘We are horrified that our religion which teaches Vasudaiva
kutumbakam is 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,” Viswanath said. ‘We are especially
appalled by the most recent nightmare of the Kashmiri people, and the situation
of 1.9 million people in
Added Ashton P. Woods, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter in
Pieter Friedrich, an American author and activist who has
exposed the Hindu rightwing operations in the
At a press conference earlier, to announce details of the protest he also pointed out how even the local politicians like the mayor Sylvester Turner, who is up for re-election in November, is attending the meeting only because they stand to benefit from the presence of huge Indian diaspora in Houston.
He pointed out how Governor Brad Sherman had released a letter asking everyone to attend the event in August, but has now withdrawn, following cries of protest.
Ayman Elsawa, Egyptian activist, stated how president Trump
bragged about Egyptian dictator Sisi, being his favorite, against whom 1000’s
of Egyptians came on the streets recently, threatening to overthrow him, and
who has gone into hiding, probably in US itself. His question to
Sarah Philips, who represents student activist group, Azaad
Austin, who’s grandparents moved to
Daniel Cohen, a Professional Communicator with a Deep Love
for Advocacy described Modi as someone who is building the world’s largest
outdoor concentration camp. He thought it fitting that the
Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector at the St. Stevens Episcopal
Church, said in Modi’s
Syed Ali, of the Indian American of Muslim Council, (IAMC), pointed out that there are a lot of separatists groups, including Khalistanis who have joined the protests, AJA does not endorse them. ‘We support the Kashmiris, the minorities and Dalits. This is a free country where everyone is allowed to protest, but AJA has a larger agenda of countering Hindutva”.
Wasim Dhar, a Kashmiri Muslim, stated that they are raising
their voices against issues of nationalism, fascism, denial of rights to
Leading activists who participated in AJA’s protest included Sarah Philips, Director of Operations at the Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective; Prof. Samina Salim of University of Houston; Pawan Singh (OFMI); Rev. Lisa Hunt, Rector at the St. Stevens Episcopal Church; Zach Chatterjee Shlachter (JVP); Daniel Cohen, Professional Communicator with a Deep Love for Advocacy; and Cesar Octavio Executive Director, For Families and Their Education (FIEL).
‘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,” the AJA said.
‘Mr. Modi’s government, and the many state governments run by his political party, the BJP, have repeatedly protected the perpetrators of such violence against the minorities while bringing criminal charges against the victims of such violence.”
The AJA statement further said that the behavior of Mr.
Modi’s Government and the BJP’s state governments is reflective of the
long-held ideological agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which
explicitly seeks to convert
‘Over the last five years, Hindu extremist lynch mobs have
killed nearly 100 Muslims in street across
‘In a chilling reminder of the Holocaust, Mr. Modi is
building detention centers in
Fully half a million of these 1.9 million people are
Muslims. In a separate move, Mr. Modi’s government has announced that it will
bring a law that would allow non-Muslim ‘foreigners” to be given citizenship in
‘This is a recipe for disaster and a threat to