protest 2

Massive protests mark Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley

Massive protests mark Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley
Diverse communities join hands to counter the Modi PR machine

protest 3San Jose, CA: September 27, 2015: Passionate crowds of protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with loud slogans and a sea of placards upon his arrival at San Jose’s SAP Center for a stage-managed Silicon Valley “community reception.” The posters, chants, and surprise banner drop challenged the Modi PR team’s attempts to whitewash the controversial politician’s record. The protest was the culmination of a month-long campaign to educate Silicon Valley leaders and elected officials about Modi’s troubling human rights record.

The Indian American community is sharply split on Modi’s performance during his first year in office, and that was obvious in the huge crowds of protesters filling up the designated protest zones and sidewalks in front of the SAP Center. According to ABC7 News, police estimated the number of anti-Modi protesters at around 3,000. In addition to the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), a large progressive umbrella group, other groups also gathered in front of the SAP Center—most notably the Sikh community that showed up in large numbers.

protest 5“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, which was much higher than we anticipated,” said Bhajan Singh, a community leader with the AJA. People came from cities as far away as Los Angeles. The numbers are a testament to the strong feelings that Modi evokes because of his poor record on religious rights, women’s rights, caste, digital freedom, LGBTQ equality, and environmental justice.”

Protesters enacted a “die in” to dramatize the attacks against Muslims, Christians, Dalits, women, and other communities that are occurring with increasing frequency under the Modi administration. As in India, Modi die-hards threatened and attacked protesters, including Dalit and LGBTQ Indians, leaving them shaken.

Local Politicians Not Impressed

protest 1Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in whose district the event took place, chose not to attend. Congressman Honda, who has the largest number of Indian American constituents, issued a statement stating that he is “well aware of the controversy that surrounds Prime Minister Modi’s visit…I will neither overlook nor forget my duty to be a strong advocate for human rights.” Ro Khanna, who is running against Honda, issued a statement saying the US-India partnership “must be rooted in a respect for civic dissent, for human rights, for a robust public square that engages NGOs, and for religious tolerance and liberty.” AJA ran an outreach campaign to local elected officials, educating them on Modi’s failed civil rights record; many subsequently declined the Modi invite.

Speakers representing the wide variety of groups in the alliance addressed the gathering and the media. They recounted the repeated and increasing violence visited upon India’s most vulnerable communities by Modi’s government and his supporters.

Said Virali Modi-Parekh, “Modi talks about Digital India, while ignoring millions of Digital Indians demanding an end to Internet censorship, restrictions on online privacy, and arrests of social media users.” Added Neil Tangri, “Since 2014, the Modi government has tried to shut down Indian civil society organizations, including targeting frontline groups, cracking down thousands of NGOs like Greenpeace India and the Sierra Club, and intimidating journalists who expose inconvenient facts.”

“It’s important to compare Narendra Modi’s words versus his actions,” explained Sabiha Basrai of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action. “This is a man being praised for tweeting #SelfieWithDaughter, even though he actually slashed funding for the Ministry of Women and Child Development by 50 per cent just months before.” Imam Zaid Shakir said, “Modi was banned from the United States by successive administrations for his egregious human rights violations. Winning an election doesn’t change the facts.”

Protesters held signs, chanted, and connected with communities impacted by Modi’s regressive policies in India via social media. The die-in honored those who have lost their lives due to Modi’s policies, ranging from victims of the Gujarat genocide to the 100,000 Indians who die every year due to the dirty coal expanded by Modi. An actor donned a Modi mask to stage a mock trial, indicting him for his involvement in the pogroms of Gujarat in 2002.

The month-long campaign included some of the following highlights:

Billboard campaign

The Modi PR team announced to the media that they raised nearly a million dollars from companies wanting to do business in India, in order to whitewash his image with the SAP Center reception. AJA responded by launching a billboard campaign telling the other side of the story. The billboards were linked to the #ModiFail campaign, which highlighted the gap between Prime Minister Modi’s words and his actions.

Zuck, Wash Your Hands!

A week before Modi’s arrival, Silicon Valley residents started mailing packages of Purell hand sanitizer to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, so he could wash off the stain after shaking hands with Narendra Modi, who was accused by Human Rights Watch of presiding over the killings of about 2,000 Muslims in 2002. Over 250 bottles have already been sent, with more pouring in; each package is dedicated to a named victim of the Gujarat pogroms.

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) is an Indian American coalition working to address attacks on Indian communities. We stand up for India’s religious minorities, women, LGBTQ people, marginalized castes, Dalits, and adivasis — as well as everyone who loves a safe and clean environment, free speech, digital freedom, and the right to openly debate and disagree.

 

news outlets

#ModiFail campaign mentioned in the media 175 times

The media actively covered the #ModiFail campaign, the September 27 protest, and the Zuck Wash Your Hands! campaign. The Indian media was pressured not to cover the story. For example, Indian readers noticed that FirstPost deleted their own news story about Zuck, Wash Your Hands (you can read a copy of the censored story over at MSN News). Despite that, AJA’s work saw wide coverage in the US, India, and internationally, including The Hindu, The Times of India, BBC, Al Jazeera, the Washington Post, as well as on TwitterBuzzfeed, Scoopwhoop, and beyond

Some of the media coverage we’ve seen:

  1. 10tv.in
  2. abbtakk.tv
  3. abhinavanandtv.com
  4. abplive.in
  5. ajplus.net
  6. akilanews.com
  7. allindiaroundup.com
  8. americanbazaaronline.com
  9. andhraheadlines.com
  10. andhraheadlines.com
  11. apnewscorner.com
  12. arynews.tv
  13. asianage.com
  14. aswamedham.com
  15. backoffindia.org
  16. bbc.com
  17. bbc.com
  18. bignewslive.com
  19. bilkulonline.com
  20. bloomberg.com
  21. breitbart.com
  22. business-standard.com
  23. businessinsider.in
  24. buzzfeed.com
  25. catchnews.com
  26. chitralekha.com
  27. counterview.net
  28. daily.bhaskar.com
  29. daily.bhaskar.com
  30. dailyexcelsior.com
  31. dailysikhupdates.com
  32. dailytimes.com.pk
  33. deccanchronicle.com
  34. deccanreport.com
  35. deepika.com
  36. democracynow.org
  37. deshebideshe.com
  38. divyabhaskar.co.in
  39. dnaindia.com
  40. dnaindia.com
  41. dnaindia.com
  42. dontgetserious.com
  43. dunyanews.tv
  44. eastcoastdaily.com
  45. economictimes.indiatimes.com
  46. economictimes.indiatimes.com
  47. economictimes.indiatimes.com
  48. errabus.com
  49. evartha.in
  50. firstpost.com
  51. firstpost.com
  52. forexreportdaily.com
  53. freepressjournal.in
  54. ft.com
  55. ganashakti.com
  56. gujaratsamachar.com
  57. gulfnews.com
  58. gulte.com
  59. hastakshep.com
  60. homegrown.co.in
  61. huewire.com
  62. huffingtonpost.in
  63. hyphenmagazine.com
  64. ibnlive.com
  65. ibtimes.co.in
  66. india.com
  67. indiaabroad-digital.com
  68. indianamericantimes.com
  69. indianexpress.com
  70. indianexpress.com
  71. indiapost.com
  72. indiaresists.com
  73. indiatimes.com
  74. indiatoday.intoday.in
  75. indiatoday.intoday.in
  76. indiatomorrow.net
  77. indiatomorrow.net
  78. indiawest.com
  79. indiawest.com
  80. indybay.org
  81. indybay.org
  82. ippodhu.com
  83. ipresspage.com
  84. kairalinewsonline.com
  85. kairalinewsonline.com
  86. kalaraw.com
  87. kqed.org
  88. kractivist.org
  89. kractivist.org
  90. kractivist.org
  91. kractivist.org
  92. kvartha.com
  93. latimes.com
  94. madeintg.com
  95. manoramaonline.com
  96. manoramaonline.com
  97. manoramaonline.com
  98. mediaonetv.in
  99. mediaonetv.in
  100. mediaworld.co.in
  101. mercurynews.com
  102. mercurynews.com
  103. mercurynews.com
  104. mercurynews.com
  105. metroindia.com
  106. metroindia.com
  107. mindthenews.com
  108. moneycontrol.com
  109. msn.com
  110. msn.com
  111. msn.com
  112. munsif.tv
  113. muslimmirror.com
  114. muslimmirror.com
  115. navbharattimes.indiatimes.com
  116. nbcnews.com
  117. ne24.in
  118. newamericamedia.org
  119. newindianexpress.com
  120. newsindiatimes.com
  121. newskarnataka.com
  122. newsmobile.in
  123. newsworldindia.in
  124. niticentral.com
  125. nqapia.org
  126. ntvbd.com
  127. opinion-internationale.com
  128. ourhindustan.com
  129. pando.com
  130. parhlo.com
  131. ptinews.com
  132. rediff.com
  133. sachkhabar.com
  134. sandesh.com
  135. sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com
  136. sanjose.com
  137. scoopwhoop.com
  138. scoopwhoop.com
  139. scroll.in
  140. scroll.in
  141. seeandsay.in
  142. setopati.com
  143. siasat.com
  144. sify.com
  145. sikh24.com
  146. sikhsiyasat.net
  147. southlive.in
  148. soychile.cl
  149. telegraphindia.com
  150. telugu.oneindia.com
  151. teluguwishesh.com
  152. thecitizen.in
  153. thehindu.com
  154. thehindu.com
  155. theindianbreeze.com
  156. thelittlenews.com
  157. thenewstribe.com
  158. thestatesman.com
  159. theweek.in
  160. timesofindia.com
  161. topyaps.com
  162. tribune.com.pk
  163. tribune.com.pk
  164. tupaki.com
  165. twocircles.net
  166. twocircles.net
  167. udayavani.com
  168. vinavu.com
  169. vinavu.com
  170. viralglitz.com
  171. washingtonpost.com
  172. younews.in
  173. youthconnect.in
  174. youthconnect.in
  175. zeenews.india.com
  176. zemtv.com

Everything you need to know about today’s protests against Modi

1. Who are we, and what do we stand for?

We are the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA). On September 27, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, will be hosted at SAP Center in San Jose, California as part of a global PR campaign to whitewash the controversial right-wing politician’s dismal record. People from across California will be joining our coalition at the event in safe permitted free speech areas, to tell the other side of the story.

Dissent is under attack in India, which is why we speak out in the United States. We 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, civil rights, free speech, net neutrality, online privacy and security, and the right to openly debate and disagree. (Expect to see other groups protesting, in addition to members of the AJA coalition.)

2. Why did we send 250+ bottles of hand sanitizer to Facebook’s CEO?

3. Why is Silicon Valley full of billboards critiquing Modi’s policies?

4. Follow us on social media

5. For the media

  • We invite media to join us at the protest on Sunday, September 27 at 3:30 PM Pacific Time
  • Contact us, and someone will get back to you ASAP
    • +1 (408) 659-3030
    • [email protected]

Dear Mark Zuckerberg…

Dear Zuck,

We would like to give you a heads up on the spontaneous campaign underway to send you bottles of Purell hand sanitizer. When the news came out that you have invited Indian Prime Minister Modi to the Facebook headquarters and will be shaking hands with him, many in the Bay Area became really concerned for you!

As you know, Mr. Modi was banned by successive administrations from entering the United States on account of his role in the massacre of some 1,921 religious minorities in India. Many among the killed were innocent children. Like Ahmed Mohamed, these children were the target of pure bigotry—only in this case, unleashed by Mr. Modi himself.

So when you meet Mr. Modi tomorrow, and shake hands with him, there will be a lot of blood on his hands that will stick to you. That’s a lot of blood to clean….and many people are mailing you bottles of Purell, each one dedicated to a victim of the Gujarat massacres, so you can get that blood off your hands.

Friends have launched a dedicated website to facilitate this effort:

Zuck, Wash Your Hands
http://zuckwashyourhands.com/ 

Hope the Purell reaches you in time. Your concerned neighbors have already mailed some 250 bottles to your office earlier this week, and many more requests are pouring in.

Zuck, please do wash your hands.

With love,

—your friends at the Alliance for Justice and Accountability

 

PS: The media may be asking about the Purell at the Town Hall tomorrow

Newspapers

83 news stories about #ModiFail

The word is getting out. Here are 83 news stories, from the BBC to The Hindu, that tell the story of the #ModiFail campaign:

  1. 10tv.in
  2. abplive.in
  3. akilanews.com
  4. americanbazaaronline.com
  5. andhraheadlines.com
  6. apblive.in
  7. apnewscorner.com
  8. asianage.com
  9. aswamedham.com
  10. bbc.com
  11. bilkulonline.com
  12. bloomberg.com
  13. breitbart.com
  14. business-standard.com
  15. catchnews.com
  16. chitralekha.com
  17. deccanchronicle.com
  18. deccanreport.com
  19. deepika.com
  20. divyabhaskar.co.in
  21. divyabhaskar.co.in
  22. dnaindia.com
  23. dnaindia.com
  24. dnaindia.com
  25. economictimes.indiatimes.com
  26. economictimes.indiatimes.com
  27. economictimes.indiatimes.com
  28. english.manoramaonline.com
  29. english.tupaki.com
  30. firstpost.com
  31. errabus.com
  32. forexreportdaily.com
  33. freepressjournal.in
  34. ft.com
  35. gujaratsamachar.com
  36. gulfnews.com
  37. gulte.com
  38. huewire.com
  39. ibnlive.com
  40. ibtimes.co.in
  41. indiaabroad-digital.com
  42. indianexpress.com
  43. indianexpress.com
  44. indiapost.com
  45. indiatomorrow.net
  46. indiawest.com
  47. indybay.org
  48. kalaraw.com
  49. kractivist.org
  50. madeintg.com
  51. manoramaonline.com
  52. mediaonetv.in
  53. mercurynews.com
  54. mercurynews.com
  55. mercurynews.com
  56. msn.com
  57. munsif.tv
  58. muslimmirror.com
  59. navbharattimes.indiatimes.com
  60. newamericamedia.org
  61. newindianexpress.com
  62. newsmobile.in
  63. opinion-internationale.com
  64. ourhindustan.com
  65. ptinews.com
  66. sandesh.com
  67. sanjose.com
  68. scroll.in
  69. siasat.com
  70. sikhsiyasat.net
  71. telegraphindia.com
  72. telugu.oneindia.com
  73. teluguwishesh.com
  74. thecitizen.in
  75. thehindu.com
  76. thehindu.com
  77. thelittlenews.com
  78. twocircles.net
  79. twocircles.net
  80. udayavani.com
  81. viralglitz.com
  82. washingtonpost.com
  83. youthconnect.in

photo credit: Jon S, CC-By