New York City Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani and City Council Members Shahana Hanif and Shekar Krishnan on Wednesday in a joint statement said that they are appalled by the visit of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to their city.
“As three of the first South Asians ever elected to New York City and State government, we are appalled by the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to our city,” read the statement.
“From his record as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, where he incited deadly riots against Muslims, to his actions as Prime Minister, which include jailing protesters, censoring journalists, and seeking to erase religious minorities from the civic and cultural fabric of India, Modi is reshaping the nation from a secular democracy into a rightwing Hindu nationalist state,” the members said.
They went on to say: “Prime Minister Modi’s oppressive and unjust policies run counter to all of the values that New York City holds dear. We call on our fellow New Yorkers and elected officials representing this great city to join us in denouncing this visit.”
This comes hours after at least three progressive lawmakers in the United States said they would not attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s joint congressional address to protest numerous alleged human rights violations in India.
Two Muslim Congresswomen — Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib — and Jamie Raskin will boycott the event.
“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. I will be boycotting Modi’s joint address to Congress,” tweeted Rashida Tlaib.
While declaring her boycott of the address, Omar said she would hold a briefing with human rights groups to discuss Modi’s record of repression and violence.
Meanwhile, in a letter signed by more than 70 members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, legislators called on the Biden administration to address human rights concerns in his talks with Modi.
The U.S. government’s Report on International Religious Freedom last year described how hate speech by officials in Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has contributed to anti-Muslim and anti-Christian violence and catalogued the party’s criminalization of religious conversion, the demolition of Muslim-owned properties, and arbitrary arrests and denial of bail for Muslim activists.
“The evidence of Modi’s escalating repression of India’s religious minorities is extensive,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the prominent Muslim body in America.