India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke before an enthusiastic crowd of 20,000 mostly Indian Americans at Madison Square Garden today, as protestors were gathered outside condemning his treatment of religious minorities (file photo).
The Prime Minister spoke in Hindi to the cheering throng calling the 21st century the “century of Asia.”
” We are convinced that 21st century is a century of Asia,” said Modi. “Even the most respected leaders of America have publicly said the 21st century of Asia and some said its the century of India.”
He pointed to the nation’s 1.2 billion people as a market the world can’t ignore, but he said development in India can’t take place without full participation of the government and its citizens working together.
“We should make development a public revolution, ” said Modi . “Growth and development must be a public movement.” He said everyone in India must be part of this public movement.
Modi said “he had a dream” that in 2022 when India celebrates 75 years of independence that “there will not be a single family in India that will not have their own house to live in.”
He said it was the responsibility for everyone in India to clean the country to honor Mahatma Gahdhi for bringing independence to India.
He thanked the crowd for “giving him a lot of love” and said he was very grateful to them and promised to repay the loan by forming the India of your dreams,” he said to the cheering crowd.
“Long live mother India,” he concluded.
However, it was a different story for some outside Madison Square Garden today.
Al Jazeera reports resentment remains deep about Modi’s perceived treatment of minorities in India.
“What we’re protesting is not just Modi,” says Robindra Deb of the Alliance for Justice and Accountability. “In a lot of ways, he’s the face of this. But it’s not just about him. It’s about this whole movement that backs him.”
Modi’s handling of the Gujrat riots in 2002 which left 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus dead remains controversial even today.
“The case against Prime Minister Modi is an unequivocal message to human rights abusers everywhere. Time and place and the trappings of power will not be an impediment to justice,” said John Bradley of the American Justice Center, according to F India.