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#ModiFail: how protesters are planning to crash PM's Silicon Valley party

Panini Anand | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:56 IST

The programme

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address a gathering in Silicon Valley, USA, on 27 September
  • Over 40,000 people are expected to welcome him

The protest

  • A website, called Modifail.com, has been launched to highlight Modi\'s \'regressive agenda\'
  • The group behind the website wants to \'unwelcome\' the PM
  • Many organisations are willing to join in this protest

The nervousness

  • Organisers of the event are trying their best to neutralise these protests
  • They want airport-like security to prevent the protesters from entering the gathering
  • There is also uncertainty over how the Patel community will react to the agitation back home

More than 40,000 fans and supporters are expected to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits Silicon Valley on 27 September.

However, not every voice will be chanting 'Modi! Modi!', as has become the norm in foreign countries. Some protesters are planning to shout slogans against the PM, and their presence is a big concern for the organisers.

Who is leading this protest?

A new website, Modifail.com, has been launched to elaborate why Modi ought not to be welcomed. 'September 27 Protest' is a listed category on the home page of the website, and a statement reads: 'Unwelcome Modi to Silicon Valley, Sep 27'.

The organisation behind the protest is the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA). There's already talk of protests by organisations like the Organisation for Minorities of India (OFMI), while the Khalistan Movement and some other organisations are also expected to join.

A website has been launched to gather support for the protest. It lists Modi's 'regressive agenda'

Student organisations, Left-liberal organisations and human rights and civil liberties groups are also set to join the protests against the PM in the States.

There are already #ModiFail billboards, banners and posters on the roads of Silicon Valley, at restaurants serving Indian food and other public places. The billboards read: "We Stand Against Modi's Regressive Agenda."

The statement posted by the protesters on their website and publicity material reads: "Join us to stand up for India's religious minorities, women, LGBTQ people, historically marginalised castes, Dalits and adivasis - as well as everyone who loves a safe and clean environment, free speech, a free Internet, and the right to openly debate and disagree."

The Patel factor

Interestingly, a section of Leuva Patels is also going to protest against Modi during the visit. This comes in the wake of the huge Patel agitation led by Hardik Patel in Gujarat.

However, the website of the Patidar Samaj in USA has a welcome note by Harshad Patel, the president of LPS of USA, which says: "On behalf of the Leuva Patidar Samaj of USA, I would like to personally welcome Mr Narendra Modi - Honorable Prime Minister of India to the United States of America.

"Undoubtedly, Modiji is one of the greatest leaders of the world, have [sic] the vision, the knowledge, the ability and the experience to help the people of all races, colours and faiths pave their way into the future. We are delighted and honored to welcome everyone's beloved Modiji."

Sources reveal that the Patel community is divided over welcoming Modi.

Some believe the way Patels were treated by the Gujarat government during the agitation - which saw some deaths and brutal punishment by the police - are no reason not to welcome Modi. After all, he was the CM of Gujarat a while ago.

An RSS source confirmed: "The Patels are divided and this is not a good news for many of us. It will not be easy to identify who is for and who is against [Modi] here. We are trying to minimise the resistance."

Airport-like security

Another source, who is an integral part of Modi's event-organising team, told Catch: "The possibility of protest has forced us to re-strategise our security arrangements. We will do proper screening of the people who attend the event at City Center, where 18,000 people would be present inside the campus. Even more would be listening to the PM outside through the big screens and sound arrangements.

"We are hiring agencies to provide us with security check and screening systems like at international airports. This is to ensure that no protesters reach inside the campus during the PM's address."

Sources also said BJP leaders from the Patel community and Gujarat are working hard to make the "event successful, peaceful and without any embarrassment for the PM here".

First published: 25 September 2015, 12:32 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.