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Show of strength by pro and anti Modi groups today in Houston

Two US-based Kashmiri activists have also filed a federal lawsuit against PM Modi

Sunday September 22, 2019 11:00 AM, ummid.com & Agencies

Howdy Modi

[Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Indian community, in Houston, USA on September 21, 2019.]

Houston: Houston - the US city in Texas, is in the media limelight where the Indian diaspora have planned a massive rally for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to show the country as a "global leader". Billed as "Howdy, Modi", the rally at NRG Football Stadium is expected 50,000 Indians living in the United States.

On the other hand, Kashmiri and Sikh groups have planned simultaneous protest rallies accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of rights violations in the Valley. Kashmir is contineously in news ever since August 05 when India scrapped its special status.

Howdy is an informal greeting, originally a shortened form of the greeting How do ye?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Houston last night. He had held meetings with various business and non-business groups after reaching the city.

The Indian American community has been busy preparing for the three-hour show that will see artistes present Indian classical and folk songs and dances, among other numbers. US President Donal Trump has also confirmed his presence at the mega event.

The event has been organized by the Texas India Forum (TIF), a non-profit organization.

"Some 50,0000 attendees from Indian American communities, and people from the 48 states are attending. It is going to be a historical event, the largest such event held for a visting head of state. No such programme has been held earlier in the past. Senators, Congressmen, mayors and the US President Donald Trump are going to attend," TIF spokesperson Gitesh Desai claimed.

Several cultural programmes are on the anvil for the show, which has a theme "Woven", signifying how the Indian American community has become part of America, he said. More than a 1,000 Gujaratis from Houston are preparing for a mega 'dandiya', a traditional Gujarati dance, to welcome the Prime Minister at the event.

Desai said more than 100 buses are being provided to ferry the participants. Massive billboards have come up near the NRG Stadium and across Houston with messages of welcome for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A car rally was also organised in Houston on Friday, ahead of the 'Howdy-Modi' event.

Protest Rally

On the other hand protest rallies have also been organised by Kashmiri, Sikh and other Indian diaspora groups against PM Modi's visit to Houston. The protesters have accused Narendra Modi of rights violations in Kashmir.

Billboards slamming PM Modi are seen in different parts of Houston, and on trucks and buses. Two US-based Kashmiri activists have also filed a federal lawsuit against PM Modi.

Protest Against Modi Houston

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, the 73-page lawsuit filed jointly by two US-based Kashmiri activists and the Khalistan Referendum Front, alleges that Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah; and Commander of Indian Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt. Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon carried out extrajudicial killings and inflicted "cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment" upon Kashmiris following the revocation Article 370 -- that granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir -- on August 5.

The civil complaint has been filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a federal statute that allows civil suits on the US soil against foreign officials suspected of committing torture or extrajudicial killing.

The New York-based attorney of the Khalistan Referendum Front said he planned to submit the case as a class action.

Human rights protesters are expected to converge in large numbers outside the Houston's NRG Stadium to hold a counter event to the 'Howdy Modi' gathering at NRG Football Stadium in Houston.

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