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London demo against Modi visit

London: In a rare display of unity representatives of various socio-religious organisations picketed on 10 September outside Brent Town Hall against the invitation sent to the butcher of Gujarat Narendra Modi by a group of British MPs led by Barry Gardiner. Holding placards with messages, "Killer Modi not welcome here", picketers shouted slogans, "Barry Gardiner, shame shame", "Barry Gardiner don’t lie, Narendra Modi gives genocide", "Who killed Ishrat Jahan? Modi did, Modi did", "Modi is a murderer", "Barry Gardiner shame on you shame on you".

More than 100 delegates participated in the picket organised by South Asia Solidarity Group and supported by Council of Indian Muslims-UK (CoIM); Brent Trades Council, Foil Vedanta; Islamic Human Rights Commission; CasteWatch UK; Southall Black Sisters; Indian Workers Association Birmingham; South Asian Alliance; Asian Rationalist Society; Freedom Without Fear Platform.

Deluding himself that he will be able to mollify the picketers, Gardiner came outside and tried to tell them that they were protesting against an invitation that had been declined and that he was willing to listen to and be lobbied by anyone, South Asian Solidarity’s Amrit Wilson told him, "You are lying and misguiding the public. You refused to see someone with a Muslim name but another person with English name had no problem in getting an appointment." Ms Wilson said both gentlemen belonged to South Asia Solidarity Group. Ms Wilson also told him, "You are also lying that the invitation has been declined because Modi has not declined to attend and has only told you that he is unable to attend in the next few weeks." Despite his bluff being called by various organisations and individuals, Gardiner continued claiming that he had received only five emails complaining about his invitation. Seeing the angry mood of the pickets Gardiner made a hasty retreat into the Town Hall while protesters shouted, "shame, shame, shame".

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2013 on page no. 13

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