Tension is simmering in the United States ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival to meet US President Joe Biden on his first official visit in the nine years of his governance. Amid the anticipation and excitement as he lands in Washington this evening (1:30 AM IST), where he will be welcomed by a group of Indian Americans, another section of the society is reportedly planning protests over India's said deteriorating human rights record.
Pieter Friedrich, a freelance journalist and human rights activist, took to Twitter to share a picture of himself calling Modi the “Risen Hitler in the East” and asking Joe Biden to “stop enabling Modi’s fascism”.
“I’m here to say #Modi is the risen Hitler in the East. Biden, stop enabling Modi’s fascism,” he tweeted with the hashtag “#ModiNotWelcome”.
In his previous tweets, he announced a protest in Washington DC, inviting people to show solidarity for the people under genocide watch and speak up against fascism. Several users on Twitter reshared his tweet and hashtag.
According to a Reuters report, the Indian American Muslim Council, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition have planned to gather near the White House on June 22 when Modi is due to meet President Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, two human rights groups – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – have organised a screening in Washington of the controversial BBC documentary, 'India: The Modi Question'.
India had responded sharply to the BBC documentary and the Centre had issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos and Twitter posts sharing links to the two-part series. Subsequently, the Income Tax Department also conducted a survey operation at the Delhi and Mumbai offices of the BBC which went on for nearly four days.
When the White House announced that it would host PM Modi, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the visit was to “strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific and our shared resolve to elevate our strategic technology partnership, including in defence, clean energy, and space".
Questions were raised about the human rights concerns in India which have been pointed out by several global watchdogs. However, Jean-Pierre defended the visit, telling reporters that Biden believes "this is an important relationship that we need to continue and build on as it relates to human rights," according to the Reuters report.