Modi in US: NY trucks pose questions on Umar Khalid, wrestlers protest & more

One of the images on the trucks sported the hashtag, #CrimeMinisterOfIndia.

Amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, the city of New York saw trucks with screens beckoning US President Joe Biden to ask the Indian PM tough questions about happenings in India.

An image shared on Twitter showed numerous trucks that had messages written out for Biden.

“Hey Joe, ask Modi why India is under a genocide watch today!”, one of the messages read. One of the screens showed images of political activist Umar Khalid,  asking why he had been in a Delhi jail for over 1000 days without trial.

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Another image sported the hashtag, #CrimeMinisterOfIndia.

The wrestlers protest that has rocked India for the last few months also found mention on one of the trucks. “Ask Modi why female Olympians were detained while protesting sexual assault by his own minister?” it read.

Full-page ad on press freedom in India

In one of the pages of the Washington Post, the Committee to Protect Journalists and its partners took out a full-page ad, criticising the handling of press freedom in India.

“India is the world’s largest democracy, yet it is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media,” the ad said. Journalists face physical violence, harassment, lawsuits, and hate campaigns on social media, it added.

The ad also demanded that leaders around the world should urge those in power in the country to stop threats against journalists.

Lawmakers boycott Modi’s joint address

US lawmakers Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Cori Bush have announced their decision to boycott the Prime Minister’s joint address to Congress.

The lawmakers cited human rights violations in India as their reason behind the decision.

“It’s shameful that Modi has been given a platform at our nation’s capital—his long history of human rights abuses, anti-democratic actions, targeting Muslims & religious minorities, and censoring journalists is unacceptable.” Tlaib tweeted, adding that she would boycott the address.

Omar also joined her fellow lawmaker, saying that Modi’s government “repressed religious minorities, emboldened violent Hindu nationalist groups, and targeted journalists/human rights advocates with impunity.”

Referring to Modi, Ocasio-Cortez said that a joint address, which is among the most prestigious invitations extended by the US Congress, should not be done for individuals with deeply troubling human rights records.

Cori Bush echoed the sentiments of other lawmakers. “Prime Minister Modi has a shameful history of committing human rights abuses, undermining democracy, and targeting journalists. In solidarity with the communities that have been harmed by Modi and his policies, I will be boycotting his joint address to Congress.” she tweeted.

Earlier on Tuesday, More than 70 Democratic members of the US Congress urged President Joe Biden in a joint letter to raise “areas of concern” in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

US Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the signatories of the letter, said that “Modi’s government has cracked down on the press and civil society, jailed political opponents, and pushed an aggressive Hindu nationalism that leaves little space for India’s religious minorities.”

“President Biden should raise these facts in his meeting with Modi,” he said in a tweet.

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