Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Howdy, Modi” rally in Houston in USA on September 22, which is expected to be a mega show with the US President Donald Trump also likely to attend, protests are being planned by some minority communities from India. For the first time, Muslim and Sikh groups have come together to protest against alleged discrimination against non-Hindus in India when Modi visits Houston to attend the event. But in the name of human rights, the protests are actually planned by separatist groups, demanding independent Kashmir ahd independent Punjab.
The protest organisers are planning to gather thousands of people for the protest, and they have arranged buses for the protesters to travel. On Saturday, the protesters held a “dress rehearsal” for the protests, where they drove tractor-trailers decorated with flags and protest signages from Sikh National Centre to the NRG centre, the venue of the “Howdy, Modi” event will take place.
Messages like “Go back Modi”, “Stop the Killing in Kashmir”, “Punjab referendum 2020 Khalistan”, “Free Kashmir” etc were seen in the rehearsal for the rally.
The protests are being held under the banner of International Humanitarian Foundation, and they have published details of transportation facility for the protesters. It is interesting to note that all the locations, from where buses will travel to the event venue, are religious institutions. The organisers have published a list of 17 locations where buses will be stationed, and 16 of them are Mosques or other Islamic centres, while the rest one is a Sikh Gurudwara.
This is the list of the religious institution from where protesters can take buses to the venue.
- Masjid Abu Bakr
- Maryam Islamic Center
- Masjid At-Taqwa
- Masjid Hamza (Mission Bend Islamic Center)
- Bear Creek Islamic Center/Masjid Al-Mustafa
- The Woodlands Mosque
- Islamic Center of Baytown
- MAS Katy Center
- Madrasah Islamiah
- Al-Noor Society of Houston
- Islamic Education Center
- Pearland Islamic Center
- Masjid al Salam
- Sikh National Center
- Mishkah Center
- Cypress Masjid
- Bilal Masjid North
Few of these mosques are identified as promoting radical Islam by the Clarion Project, like the Islamic Education Center and Masjid At-Taqwa.
The Sikh organisers of the protest talked to Houston Chronicle, and from their comments, it is apparent that they are linked with the Khalistani movement. Jagdeep Singh, one of the Sikh organisers of the protest, is working towards the 2020 Punjab referendum, a Khalistani separatist campaign seeking to organise a referendum in Punjab in 2020 for forming an independent Khalistan. Hardam Singh Azad, chairman of the Sikh National Center, said “it’s a protest rally for freedom”, clearly indicating that the protest is being organised by separatists.
On the other hand, Muslims who are protesting against Modi in Houston are Kashmir separatists. They are openly calling for freedom of Kashmir from India. At a Houston City Council meeting recently, some Muslims demonstrated against the Modi event, holding placards calling for Kashmir’s freedom and with messages against Modi, BJP and RSS.
I just spoke at @HoustonTX – Houston City Council – against #HowdyModi. Provided all 16 city council members with a 50+ page packet of three articles about #Modi, the #RSS (and its white supremacist connection and inspiration by the Nazis, and the RSS in America. pic.twitter.com/EYPCPhUyWF
— Pieter Friedrich (@FriedrichPieter) September 17, 2019
From the comments of Peter Friedrich, a so-called South Asian Affairs analyst who organised anti-Modi protests during the city council meeting, it is clear that he is just spreading anti-India propaganda in the name of human rights. Peter Friedrich is known for his anti-Hindu views, who was in news recently for publishing an article attacking Gandhi, RSS and VHP.
Howdy Modi is a community summit hosted by Texas India Forum (TIF) for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, September 22nd at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas at 10 am. Over 50,000 attendees have already registered for the sold-out event through online registration. As per the organisers, it will be the largest gathering for an invited foreign leader visiting the United States other than the Pope.