7 photos of #ModiFail billboards around the San Francisco Bay Area

Over the past week, billboards on major San Francisco Bay Area freeways have been educating traffic-weary commuters on the real record of Indian PM Narendra Modi.

While his jet-setting ways are being used to project an image of modernity and change the public perception, the billboards shed light on the truth: Narendra Modi is and has been, a gross violator of human rights and India’s democratic ideals.

 

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#ModiFail billboards educate Silicon Valley on Modi’s human rights record

As part of the #ModiFail campaign, the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) is using billboards to raise public awareness about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration’s attacks on personal freedoms and human rights in India. AJA hopes this series of billboards in the San Francisco Bay Area will inform the American people that Modi’s upcoming Silicon Valley PR tour is being used as an excuse to whitewash his dismal record as Prime Minister, and before that, Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The billboards are visible from I-580 in Oakland, I-280 in Daly City, Highway 92 in Hayward, Highway 84 in Newark, I-880 in Newark, I-880 in Milpitas, and Highway 101 in Santa Clara.

The billboard highlights ModiFail.com, the AJA’s online report card highlighting the facts behind some of Narendra Modi’s most egregious failures during his 16 months in office as Prime Minister.

India’s celebrated values of pluralism and tolerance are under severe attack since Mr. Modi assumed office as Prime Minister. According to the Modi government’s sources, attacks against religious minorities are up 25% since last year. His own ministers are engaged in a malicious hate campaign against Christians and Muslims.

Narendra Modi speaks eloquently of Digital India, but individuals posting comments against Modi or his peers on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media sites have repeatedly faced arrest; when the Indian Supreme Court struck down the hated “Facebook arrest” law, the Modi government expressed interest in passing replacement censorship legislation to skirt the ban. The Modi government has been particularly vicious in its attacks on free speech, as it increasingly equates dissent, even in the form of social media posts, with sedition and “waging war against the state.”

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) is a diverse coalition led by progressive Indian American communities. AJA members work for pluralism, civil rights, religious freedom, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, and environmental justice in India and beyond.

#ModiFail billboard with context
#ModiFail billboard on I-880 in Milpitas, CA

LA Times story on Narendra Modi censored on Facebook

LA Times journalist Shashank Bengali writes a variety of stories on South Asia, including a very positive recent article on Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming trip to Silicon Valley. But when he published a new story critical of the Modi administration, his story was targeted for online censorship.

His new Los Angeles Times story, “India police officers feel targeted for offering evidence against prime minister”, is a damning look at the attacks faced by whistleblowers against Narendra Modi:

“One police official saw his promising career flatline and was dogged by minor misconduct charges until he took early retirement this year. Another endured a long suspension before being fired last month, but not before a sex video surfaced that purported to show him with a mistress. (Apart from the receding hairline and healthy mustache, his wife said, he looked nothing like the man on screen.) A third faces a possible inquiry into decade-old charges of disclosing sensitive information. It could cost him his pension. The three former officials say they have been targeted for offering evidence potentially damaging to India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, in a protracted investigation into one of India’s worst bouts of religious violence in recent decades.” (source)

But when you try to share the story on Facebook, it gets flagged as unsafe content, forcing the user to complete a CAPTCHA:

LA Times share attempt screenshot
Screenshot of an attempt at sharing the exposé on Modi on Facebook

 

But it’s even harder to click on the story. When you try to click on a link to the story, Facebook tries to warn users that this may be dangerous:

Facebook click on LA Times story
Screenshot of an attempt at clicking on the exposé on Modi on Facebook

This censorship on Facebook may be the result of Narendra Modi partisans — either paid or unpaid — repeatedly clicking “report as spam/virus” on the story, forcing Facebook’s algorithms to treat it as dangerous content.

It’s outrageous for Facebook to be used a tool of censorship to bolster Narendra Modi’s PR, preventing American readers from reading an American newspaper article via an American social network.

Try sharing the link http://latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-modi-whistleblower-20150920-story.html for yourself to see if this is still happening.

Alliance For Justice And Accountability (AJA) Launches #MODIFAIL: A Campaign to Protest Narendra Modi’s Silicon Valley Visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2015

San Jose, CA: In anticipation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the Bay Area on September 27, 2015, the Alliance for Justice And Accountability (AJA) – a broad coalition of progressive organizations – has launched a campaign to hold him accountable for past and present attacks on the freedoms and human rights of Indian communities.

AJA will hold a protest at the SAP Center on September 27, 2015 under the banner #ModiFail, to expose the realities behind Modi’s alleged “accomplishments.” The Alliance will also reach out to elected officials and corporate leaders in the US to inform them about Modi’s failed and regressive policies that negatively impact human rights, religious freedoms, the environment, and overall: shrink the space for civil liberties under his rule.

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Unwelcome Modi to Silicon Valley, Sep 27

On September 27, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, will be welcomed at SAP Center in San Jose, California, as part of his global PR campaign. Join us at the event on September 27, in safe permitted free speech areas, to tell the other side of the story.

Please share the Facebook event, and register online!

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.

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