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Monday Sep 23 2019
Web Desk

Trump, Modi attend rally in Houston amid occupied Kashmir protests

Web Desk

HOUSTON: United States President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared themselves united in a relentless fight against "terrorism," vowing a close, personal alliance in front of tens of thousands of Indian-Americans.

The two leaders, like-minded nationalists fond of fiery rallies and skeptical of traditional media, heaped praise on each other in an unusual joint appearance inside the NRG football stadium.

To the bhangra beats of four drummers in saffron turbans, Trump in his dark suit and Modi in a yellow kurta and vest, made a grand entrance with arms clenched together to ecstatic cheers from the crowd.

Trump won his biggest applause when he told the crowd, many wearing the saffron of India’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, "We are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of terrorism."

Taking the flavor of one of Trump's own boisterous rallies, Modi later asked the crowd to give a standing ovation to Trump for his stance. 

Outside the stadium, Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, Sikh and Christian groups under the umbrella of Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) held anti-India demonstrations and rallies.

The march, which started from Sikh National Centre in Houston, culminated at the NRG Stadium — the venue of the Indian premier’s public gathering. 

The protesters made their presence felt with a dress rehearsal along with tractors and trailer trucks decorated with flags and protest slogans.

The Kashmiri-American group, which planned the protest outside of Houston’s NRG Stadium against Modi, said India had violated basic human rights and cut off contact with people in occupied Kashmir.