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Houston gears up to welcome PM Modi

Houston gears up to welcome PM Modi
The event at the NRG Football Stadium, one of the largest in the US, has been organized by the Texas India Forum (TIF), a non-profit organization.
Houston/Washington (Texas), Sep 21 (IANS) | Publish Date: 9/21/2019 11:29:06 AM IST

Preparations are in full swing for Sunday’s mega ‘Howdy Modi’ event at the massive NRG stadium here that will see 50,000 enthusiastic Indian diaspora members greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he takes the stage, with US President Donald Trump joining him in a rare gesture.

The event at the NRG Football Stadium, one of the largest in the US, has been organized by the Texas India Forum (TIF), a non-profit organization.

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.

More than a 1,000 Gujaratis from Houston are preparing for a mega ‘dandiya’, a traditional Gujarati dance, to welcome the Prime Minister for the event.

TIF spokesperson Gitesh Desai said that Indian Americans from across the US would be attending the “historical event”.

“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 democratically elected 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,” said Desai. 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.

He 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.

Ahead of PM Modi’s arrival on Saturday, the heavy rains in Houston, brought about by Tropical Depression Imelda, have abated. 

The rains had caused massive flooding across Houston and there were fears it might take off the sheen from the event. Imelda left four people dead.

Texas accounts for 10 per cent of India-US trade, about $7 billion worth of US goods and commodities are moved between Texas and India.

Lawsuit filed against Modi in Houston

With separatist Sikh groups and Pakistanis planning to hold protests in Houston, and two US-based Kashmiri activists having filed a federal lawsuit accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of rights violations in Kashmir, New Delhi is known to be in touch with Washington over the Prime Minister’s security.

The Indian mission is also working to find out the implications of the federal lawsuit. 

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 that will see 50,000 members of the Indian diaspora in attendance on Sunday. 

US President Donald Trump is also participating in the event, underlining the importance of India-US relations.

The Pakistani elements have made elaborate arrangements to pick up people from outside mosques in Houston for the anti-Modi protest.


-Tags:#PM Modi

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