Federation of Indian Associations,others, hold rallies during Modi visit

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Rally organized by the Federation of Indian Associations at the United Nations to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he gave his speech at the General Assembly Sept. 25, 2021. Photo: ITV Gold

The Federation of Indian Associations held a welcome rally outside the United Nations in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he addressed the General Assembly Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.

The FIA in New York, was among several groups of protesters and supporters who held rallies and expressed their views during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States Sept. 22-25. dwelling on a host of issues from the alleged human rights violations of Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and farmers, to citizenship laws and Kashmir.

FIA rally to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sept. 25, 2021, at the United Nations. Photo: ITV Gold

However, other than the press coverage, the protests appear to have left the substantive discussions between Modi and President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, relatively untouched. Democracy and its preservation in both the U.S. and India, were the theme underlying official meetings, and words were chosen carefully and with caution.

Washington was hard-put to chastise India, the largest democracy, in light of the rising hate crimes, systemic racism acknowledged by the Biden administration, treatment of African Americans and the rise of the right wing on its own soil.

Indian Overseas Congress-USA at a rally Sept. 25, 2021, outside the United Nations, demonstrating against policies on a host of issues from democracy to pluralism, farmers’ protests in India, Kashmir etc. Photo: courtesy IOC-USA

Nevertheless, the protest at Lafayette Park across from the White House on Sept. 24, 2021, used strong words on placards and in the criticism of India over the years that Prime Minister Modi has been in power.

The next day Sept. 25, as Modi addressed the United Nations, several groups staged protests on Kashmir and Citizenship laws in India, another focusing on Indian farmers’ demands, and the Indian Overseas Congress which said it had no issue with the Prime Minister’s visit but wanted to highlight the issue of democracy in India being allegedly undermined under his watch, and hailing India’s pluralism.

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