WASHINGTON: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three day visit to the US, hundreds of Indian-Americans from across the country have joined hands to give him a rousing welcome in front of the United Nations headquarters and the White House.
‘America Welcomes Modi’ rallies are being planned in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 27, when Modi is to deliver his maiden address to the UN General Assembly.
The organisers are also preparing huge banners, posters and specially made T-shirts with slogans ‘America Welcomes Modi’, to be distributed among the participants.
Similarly in Washington DC, scores of Indian-Americans from the national Capital and from its suburbs in nearby Maryland and Virginia are preparing to hold welcome rallies in front of the White House on September 30, when Modi is scheduled to hold meeting with the US President Barack Obama, in his Oval Office.
While the New York event is being organised by Indian American Intellectual Forum in association with several other organisations, the White House Rally has been planned by US India Democracy Forum.
“There is an unprecedented level of support for Modi in the US… Indian-Americans from as far as Chicago and Houston are flying to New York to welcome the Prime Minister in front of the United Nations when he delivers his address to the General Assembly,” said Narain Kataria of the Indian American Intellectual Forum.
Kataria said Modi’s supporters in Chicago have printed ‘America Welcomes Modi’ t-shirts, which would be distributed to the participants. A number of large posters and banners are also being printed for the participants to display it prominently during the event, expected to be attended by some 900 people.
Many of the participants would be wearing Modi masks, while two life-size cut outs of Modi would be put in display in front of the United Nations for people to take picture with their popular leader, Kataria said. Not everybody has been able to get a ticket for the public reception being hosted in honour of Modi, because of space constraints.
“This is our way of taking picture with Modi,” he said.
Three days later a similar welcome rally is being planned in the Washington in front of the White House coinciding with the Modi-Obama meeting.
“Come celebrate the official ‘US-India Partnership Day’ September 30th. Join us for the festivities for recognition of this day by the US government,” a flier of the event said.
Earlier this week, the US Senate had unanimously passed a resolution designating September 30 as ‘US-India Partnership Day’.
However, parallel to these welcome rallies, some groups have announced to hold protest rallies against Modi both outside the United Nations and in front of the White House.
At both the places New York-based ‘Sikhs For Justice’ plans to hold protest rallies against the alleged violation of human rights in Punjab and Gujarat.
The Kashmir American Council (KAC) announced yesterday to hold a candle light vigil in front of the White House on September 29 to remind Obama to fulfil his 2008 pledge to try and facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India, to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Meanwhile, in a letter to local authorities, the US India Democracy Forum have alleged that ‘Sikhs for Justice’ is trying to scuttle their welcome rally by stating that its anti-Modi rally would be attended by some 1300 people.
Since, the Lafayette Square Park has a capacity to accommodate only a certain number of people, if its application of a rally by 1300 people is granted permission, other groups would not be allowed to hold any rallies.