Massive protests mark Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley

Massive protests mark Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley

Diverse communities join hands to counter the Modi PR machine

September 27, 2015

San Jose, CA: September 27, 2015: Passionate crowds of protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with loud slogans and a sea of placards upon his arrival at San Jose’s SAP Center for a stage-managed Silicon Valley “community reception.” The posters, chants, and surprise banner drop challenged the Modi PR team’s attempts to whitewash the controversial politician’s record. The protest was the culmination of a month-long campaign to educate Silicon Valley leaders and elected officials about Modi’s troubling human rights record.

The Indian American community is sharply split on Modi’s performance during his first year in office, and that was obvious in the huge crowds of protesters filling up the designated protest zones and sidewalks in front of the SAP Center. As reported local channel KPIX5, Police sources estimated the number of protesters around 3,000. In addition to the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), a large progressive umbrella group, other groups also gathered in front of the SAP Center—most notably the Sikh community that showed up in large numbers.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, which was much higher than we anticipated,” said Bhajan Singh, a community leader with the AJA. People came from cities as far away as Los Angeles. The numbers are a testament to the strong feelings that Modi evokes because of his poor record on religious rights, women’s rights, caste, digital freedom, LGBTQ equality, and environmental justice.”

Protesters enacted a “die in” to dramatize the attacks against Muslims, Christians, Dalits, women, and other communities that are occurring with increasing frequency under the Modi administration. As in India, Modi die-hards threatened and attacked protesters, including Dalit and LGBTQ Indians, leaving them shaken.

Local Politicians Not Impressed

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in whose district the event took place, chose not to attend. Congressman Honda, who has the largest number of Indian American constituents, issued a statement stating that he is “well aware of the controversy that surrounds Prime Minister Modi’s visit…I will neither overlook nor forget my duty to be a strong advocate for human rights.” Ro Khanna, who is running against Honda, issued a statement saying the US-India partnership “must be rooted in a respect for civic dissent, for human rights, for a robust public square that engages NGOs, and for religious tolerance and liberty.” AJA ran an outreach campaign to local elected officials, educating them on Modi’s failed civil rights record; many subsequently declined the Modi invite.

Speakers representing the wide variety of groups in the alliance addressed the gathering and the media. They recounted the repeated and increasing violence visited upon India’s most vulnerable communities by Modi’s government and his supporters.

Said Virali Modi-Parekh, “Modi talks about Digital India, while ignoring millions of Digital Indians demanding an end to Internet censorship, restrictions on online privacy, and arrests of social media users.” Added Neil Tangri, “Since 2014, the Modi government has tried to shut down Indian civil society organizations, including targeting frontline groups, cracking down thousands of NGOs like Greenpeace India and the Sierra Club, and intimidating journalists who expose inconvenient facts.”

“It’s important to compare Narendra Modi’s words versus his actions,” explained Sabiha Basrai of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action. “This is a man being praised for tweeting #SelfieWithDaughter, even though he actually slashed funding for the Ministry of Women and Child Development by 50 per cent just months before.” Imam Zaid Shakir said, “Modi was banned from the United States by successive administrations for his egregious human rights violations. Winning an election doesn’t change the facts.”

Protesters held signs, chanted, and connected with communities impacted by Modi’s regressive policies in India via social media. The die-in honored those who have lost their lives due to Modi’s policies, ranging from victims of the Gujarat genocide to the 100,000 Indians who die every year due to the dirty coal expanded by Modi. An actor donned a Modi mask to stage a mock trial, indicting him for his involvement in the pogroms of Gujarat in 2002.

The month-long campaign included some of the following highlights:

Billboard campaign

The Modi PR team announced to the media that they raised nearly a million dollars from companies wanting to do business in India, in order to whitewash his image with the SAP Center reception. AJA responded by launching a billboard campaign telling the other side of the story. The billboards were linked to the #ModiFail campaign, which highlighted the gap between Prime Minister Modi’s words and his actions.

Zuck, Wash Your Hands!

A week before Modi’s arrival, Silicon Valley residents started mailing packages of Purell hand sanitizer to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, so he could wash off the stain after shaking hands with Narendra Modi, who was accused by Human Rights Watch of presiding over the killings of about 2,000 Muslims in 2002. Over 250 bottles have already been sent, with more pouring in; each package is dedicated to a named victim of the Gujarat pogroms.

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) is an Indian American coalition working to address attacks on Indian communities. We stand up for India’s religious minorities, women, LGBTQ people, marginalized castes, Dalits, and adivasis — as well as everyone who loves a safe and clean environment, free speech, digital freedom, and the right to openly debate and disagree.



Tel: (408) 659-3030
Fax: (408) 901-8805




  1. It is interesting that in the protest agenda there is no mention of the poor, the growing inequality,blatant kowtowing to a divisive neo liberal programme of action rising prices and increased corporatising of the Indian Economy. It is evidence therefore that the protests to that extent is shallow, superficial and in its own way the mirror image of an India that is aspirational, distant,urbanised and very rising middle class : the India of a handful dreams.Good to hear of but difficult to believe in.

    • Ambar Rahman

      very true Wingdream sir, there are no agenda of these important issues because BJP and Modi supporters are raising issues and working only for Hindutva, Cow protections, making star to Nathu Ram Godse (a killer of Father of Nation) etc etc… these people are protesting for the same… is really a matter of shame and our Country is heading towards a disaster… Save India!!!! Save ourselves….

  2. It’s a shame that the youth takes to the streets to protests at these events. It does no good except providing some publicity which is soon forgotten. If you think something is unfair, better get together and try to find some solution to the grievance instead of putting blame on a single person. If people want, much good can be done with mutual support and co-operation.

  3. There are people on this planet who have nothing better to do.
    They themselves are incapable of doing anything and will also try and pull down others who are desperately trying to get something done for his/her country..

    • mrankitanks .

      100% of people who support dumbhead modi will even set their profile pics to look like white dwarfs if modi says “i am launching a mission pluto and we will all visit pluto in one year” because they are all freaking retards who will believe anything with no understanding of what is happening.

      • Check out this news on The Hindustan Times:

        India emerges top FDI destination leaving behind China, US in 2015

      • Akshay Chandrashekar

        It is just extremely disheartening to see that such retards also exist
        in silicon valley. I hope there are protests against these charlatans. They so conveniently ignore the growth story.. I am not saying that everything is good under his governance. they could have touched upon the poor, growing inequality, corruption etc. but no. they still want to
        delve into a topic that does not even exist. caste problem has been a
        reality in India, not Modi created. He was also acquitted from the 2002
        riots case. but some dumb jobless people like you will go on ranting
        about it. bloody traitors….

        • Ambar Rahman

          you are worried about Silicone Valley, think about India and say something about the killings of innocent people in the name of religion….. don’t blindly support any one….. Dear Sir now the situation have come that youth have started taking law in their hand and killing the innocent under nose of police and Modi government…. think and work together to save India.

          • I agree with you. Those people who are involved in such act should be given strict punishment irrespective any religion. Don’t criticise Modi for everything. UP police is under SP govt. Why signalling out central govt for this? Because it all serve the interest of Congress and other Sickular parties.

          • Akshay Chandrashekar

            First of all you have been repeatedly fed nonsense about Modi by our noble media . I have clearly stated in my comment that he has been acquitted by the Indian courts. but people will still point fingers at him. I don’t know where you live but I think the masses have shown their approval of Modi. The huge majority for BJP, which was nowhere before the 2014 elections was powered by Modi ( though I don’t deny Congress helping him ). People blindly voted for BJP candidates as they represented Modi in their respective constituencies. As a circus democracy every citizen has the right to take part in peaceful protests against anyone even if the accusations are baseless. But doing so on foreign soil is a direct insult to the country and the majority of Indian people who voted for Modi. Period.

            And on the unfortunate incident in UP. It happened under SP government in UP. Yes, Modi is the PM but you talk as if he ordered those mobsters to kill the man. You talk as if Modi went to UP and congratulated the mob for having carried out the disgusting feat. In that case Modi is responsible for all the people dying in the country for whatever reason. Utter nonsense.

            Your comment on the police is true, they are useless jerks, slaves of the ruling party, SP. Please open YOUR eyes. I’m not telling you not to listen to whatever the profit driven media says, or what the religious leaders say. I am asking you to use your brains to see what the truth is. If you had any real idea about the politics in UP or had talked to any single guy from a UP village you would know.

            Finally I am not a Modi Bhakht, but I believed he was the only politician capable of leading the country. Over the last 18 months he has not done many things which I and a lot Indians thought he would do. but at least he has sparked the growth story in India.

        • What asshole you are Akshay, You are supporting a murderer who has killed more than 2000 people in 2002 and many more by changing the policies.. It really bothers me that moron like you make such a bold statement about a Faku, who only brags about himself but does not do anything in actions….

          • Why signalling out Modi only. There have been n number of riots in India for the last 67 years of its existence. Why moron like you don’t raise voice against them. Sikh riot is the best example. Don’t be dumb. Open your eyes and see the world.

          • Akshay Chandrashekar

            I agree with you when you say Modi brags about himself a lot these days. The other parts of the comment show that you are a blind retard. Yes, some people linked him to the 2002 riots, a claim that was defeated in court. But I don’t know when he changed policies, or where he was even wrongfully linked to any other murders. You are welcome to see my response to Ambar Rahman.

  4. Neeraj Sharma

    Dirty mind traitors, no abuse is good enough for such ppl and their leader Raja Digvj seeng

  5. R.Srinivasan

    It is most unfortunate that not a single indian media, whether it is print or television channels not showing this kind of protest by ignoring it.

  6. Part of Congress Comedy Show :)….

  7. Shabbir Ahmed Bijli

    A Big Shame on indian media / print or television channels not showing this kind of protest by ignoring it.
    Sanjiv Bhatt, an IPS officer 100% Right, IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who took on Mr Modi for 2002 ri.
    Former Gujarat Judge Himanshu Trivedi says he preferred to resign rather than follow instructions to act against the state’s Muslims ,. BY THE WIRE STAFF ON 04/08/2015 • ( LEAVE A COMMENT )After the1993 Mumbai, we have seen the state sponsored brutality of majority communal-ism in the 2002 Gujarat,.

  8. shabir hakim

    STRANGE… WONDERING ! Who controls us? who we are?

  9. This is democracy and It has proved that we can’t believe our own govt.

Leave a Reply