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LOS ANGELES (RNS) — A number of religious organizations are urging a congressman who oversees a subcommittee on Asia affairs not to participate in a rally that will honor India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Texas next week.
Organizers of the Sunday (Sept. 22) rally, dubbed “Howdy, Modi!,” said the gathering will “emphasize the shared values and aspirations” of the United States and India. On Monday, the group, Texas India Forum, announced that President Donald Trump would be in attendance, along with 50,000 attendees, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
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But after U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from Sherman Oaks, California, sent a letter on Thursday to other members of Congress asking them to attend the event, as first reported by The Daily Beast, a group of Sikh, Muslim and Jewish organizations addressed a letter to Sherman urging him to not attend the rally and to discourage other Congress members from going.
The rally comes against a background of reports of rising violence and intimidation by Indian soldiers in Kashmir villages and harassment of locals by Muslim militants. On Aug. 5, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government stripped the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir of most of its semiautonomous status. A curfew was imposed and internet access was cut off.
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“Many of our stakeholders and community members are concerned about the human rights violations that are occurring in Kashmir, some of whom have parents in Kashmir. United States citizens in California have been cut off from their loved ones, unable to reach them or know whether they are safe,” the groups said in their letter.
The letter, dated Thursday, was signed by the American Sikh Public Affairs Association, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other organizations. The interfaith group recommended that Sherman...
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