Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Online campaign seeking support to anti-Modi protest at San Jose picks up, as PM leaves for Ireland, US

Online campaign slogan
By Our Representative
The US-based Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) has begun an online campaign to gather support for its proposed protest in the "safe permitted free speech areas" next to the SAP Center in San Jose, California where the Indian community has planned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public reception on September 27.
The campaign has gone viral on social media, which Modi's officials wanted to tap, a move aborted following outcry in India on the social media.
The AJA's online campaign comes as Modi left for his two nation tour, first going to Ireland, and then to the US, where he will go to the UN general assembly and then to the Silicon Valley for two days. He will be visiting Facebook headquarters and will meet its founder Mark Zuckerberg at Menlo Park. He will also be meeting with Apple’s Tim Cook and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, apart from meeting top American CEOs.
Calling Modi's visit part of his “global public relations (PR) campaign”, the AJA has called upon non-resident Indians (NRI) in the US to signed up an #UnwelcomeModi petition on Facebook and on Google Docs. Interestingly, from available details, the Patel NRIs in the US have lined up their support to the AJA petition, which is aimed at “exposing” Modi's role in the 2002 riots.
AJA is a broad coalition of progressive organizations. The decision to go online to “unwelcome Modi” comes after Modi men decided to organize massive support following 125 top intellectuals gave an open statement against Modi's visit to Silicon Valley. The statement said, Modi has been wanting to intrude into individual privacy through online mechanisms.
The Patels in Gujarat are protesting for reservation status or no reservation at all, and have the backing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and a the anti-Modi faction in Gujarat BJP. Already, India's intelligence network has informed Government of India authorities that supporters of Modi's bete noire Keshubhai Patel are backing Hardik Patel, the main Patel leader.
The Facebook petition says, “Join us at the event, in safe permitted free speech areas, to tell the other side of the story. Join us to stand up for India's religious minorities, women, LGBTQ people, historically marginalized castes, Dalits and adivasis — as well as everyone who loves a safe and clean environment, free speech, a free Internet, and the right to openly debate and disagree.”
It adds, “Until 2014, Narendra Modi was banned from entering the United States and several other countries for his complicity in the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat in 2002 in which hundreds of Muslim men, women and children were brutally massacred by Hindu mobs.”
The petition asserts, “Since winning the election, Modi has used his diplomatic privileges to visit countries from which he was previously banned, trying to whitewash his global image. But Modi’s PR team can’t hide the facts”, calling upon NRIs to join in on September 27 to “demand real development and progress, to remember and honor those who have not received any justice, and protest the perpetrator of injustices.”
Google Docs' online signature campaign, with a banner, “Unwelcome Modi to Silicon Vally”, wants its signatories to answer the question as to why do they want to “unwelcome” Modi, wanting the respondents to respond to one of the several reasons to oppose him. It also asks the “opponents” to say whether they are part of a group that might attend or endorse the event.
The petition wants those “interested” in volunteering to help before the event by giving them several option, including “sharing” the event on social media, “inviting” friends to the event, “offering” rides to the event, “help by being a safety monitor on September 27, and so on.

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