Let us make the space we share better and bring the change we desire. Author is Indian Muslim, a Public Figure, Social Activist, Blogger and Media Personality. On mission to build a givers world rather than takers.
DESPITE INDIAN MEDIA BLACKOUT, “MODI GO BACK” PROTESTS IN LONDON HAVE
THE CITIZEN BUREAU Thursday, November 12, 2015
Protest outside 10 Downing Street
LONDON: Hundreds of protestors marking the venues visited by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi, but not a word of it appeared on Indian
television and was barely—if at all–covered by the Indian media.
The British and the world media, however, recognised the protesters
not just through their coverage but also in a question to PM Modi
asking him what was his message to the protestors outside. Needless to
say he did not answer the question.
The demonstrations were large given the odds, with even the Nepalese
in London joining in in protest against the blockade of goods and fuel
to their country by India. Most other rights groups, including a vocal
Sikh contingent, joined the protests all all shouted slogans centering
around “fascism”, “genocide”, asking Prime Minister Modi to go home.
And shouting “Cameron Shame Shame” when the Indian Prime Minister was
being hosted by the British Prime Minister for lunch at 10 Downing
Nepalese in London join the protests
The “black out” by the Indian media of the protests was made even more
stark as the British newspapers came out with detailed reports. The
Guardian reported for instance: Several hundred demonstrators
representing Gujarati, Sikh, Tamil, Kashmiri, Nepali and women’s
groups chanted ”Modi go home” and “David Cameron shame shame” as the
Indian prime minister was welcomed at about lunchtime on Thursday.
Modi, a Hindu nationalist who was elected after a landslide victory
last year, was banned from the UK, US, and several European countries
until 2012 after anti-Muslim riots a decade earlier in Gujarat, in
which thousands died. “ A tiny group of less than 50 Modi supporters
were also present, but at a distance.
Prime Minister Modi who in the initial schedule was slotted to visit
Cambridge University cancelled this. The Ministry of External Affairs
spokesperson in Delhi of course claimed that he had never accepted the
invitation extended by the University. In fact senior Professors and
academics of the University wrote a letter in protest to the Vice
Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz stating as reported in The Citizen
earlier, “Given that your invitation comes at a time when several
prominent Indian writers and intellectuals are returning their state
honours in protest against the ongoing assault on civil liberties and
academic freedom under Mr Modi’s government , we believe that Mr
Modi’s presence at our institution will bring the university into
The University authorities at the time had said that the visit would
go ahead but the heated debate and spate of protests planned by the
students and the faculty together seems to have ensured it being
quietly dropped from the PM’s itinerary.
The highlight of the protests came a day before PM Modi’s visit to
London with a light projection drawing a comparison with fascism, on
the walls of the British Parliament. This move by the protestors
received worldwide attention, and despite the audacity did not even
attract a knuckle rap from the British police.
The protests will continue through the visit with the ‘Modi Go Back’
campaign making its presence felt on the streets of London with
slogans and placards like “HIndutva is a Threat to Indian Unity”,
“Stop Religious Persecution in India”, “Modi not Welcome in UK.” There
were more provocative slogans and placards as well, all duly reported
and commented upon by the free British media unlike the Indian media
that seemed to be following unwritten ‘instructions’ till the last
channel. Indian cameras passed by the protestors making sure that the
lense remained focused in the opposite direction