When Brent North MP, Barry Gardiner, invited Narendra Modi of the BJP to the House of Commons in 2013 there were chaotic scenes LINK outside the Brent Civic Centre where Gardiner was holding his surgery. Gardiner was Chair of Labour Friends of India at the time. The visit did not take place.
Members of the South Asia Solidarity Group were protesting over allegations that Modi was implicated in the Gujerat riots of 2002.
Now Prime Minister Modi is due to visit not the House of Commons but Wembley Stadium. Asian Lite Com reports:
The Europe India Forum (EIF) said it will be hosting a reception in honour of Prime Minister Modi at Wembley Stadium on 13 November.The BBC is currently running an 'India Season' with the Indian economy expected to overtake that of China in the near future. UK-India relations are at the top of the political agenda.
Over 70,000 people are expected to attend this special invitation only “Olympic style” event. It will be the largest reception any foreign head of government has ever received in the UK.
The EIF indulges in laudatory purple prose as it describes Narendra Modi's appearance at Wembley LINK:
However Modi remains a controversial figure. South Asia Solidarity wrote on their website earlier this month: LINKWith the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, due to visit the United Kingdom later this year, the largest Indian diaspora in the world is eagerly waiting in anticipation to deliver the loudest, greatest and most vibrant welcome he has seen outside of India. UKWelcomesModi will bring together individuals from the 1.6 million-strong Indian community in Britain- from all backgrounds, generations and regions – to celebrate two great nations with one glorious future. It is the Diwali event for the family this year- with a cultural showcase featuring the best of Indian and British talent; a landmark speech to be delivered by Prime Minister Modi and a grand finale featuring the biggest fireworks display in the whole country.UKWelcomesModi pays tribute to the deep ties between India and the UK, highlighting the formidable contribution made by members of the Indian diaspora in all walks of British life. Prime Minister Modi’s already iconic leadership has made waves across the world.UKWelcomesModi is honoured to host this new global visionary who will give us a glimpse of India in years to come as it forges new paradigm of growth and success for not just Asia, but the rest of the world too. Organised by the Europe India Forum and in partnership with Indian cultural and community organisations across the country, the event is set to be the highlight of 2015. The Europe India Forum is a not for profit organisation promoting Europe-India relations for communities, by communities.
In the run up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, four of the UK’s foremost Dalit organisations have written to Narendra Modi, expressing their dismay about the recent revelations by investigative news portal Cobrapost. Their letter notes that senior BJP politicians were involved in the massacres of some 144 Dalit men, women and children in Bihar and that Mr Modi has so far neither spoken out against the self-confessed killers and their accomplices nor taken any action against them.
Asked if there would be demonstrations against Modi's visit to the UK Amrit Wilson of South Asia Solidarity said:Spokespersons from the organisations urge Mr Modi to act because his ‘ lack of action on this issue gives the shocking message that Dalit and oppressed caste lives do not matter in India’ . They urge him to act urgently to ensure that the self-confessed killers are brought to justice and that all the politicians, including senior BJP politicians, are dismissed from their posts, arrested and charged.
We have not forgotten the Gujarat genocide, the Dalit massacres or the attacks on women. Every week, there are new cases of rape and murder with Modi's party and its associated Hindu supremacist organisations clearly implicated. But Modi is silent. He is coming to the UK to arrange the sale of even more of India's resources to British corporates. So yes, we will protest and we hope British anti-fascists will join us, because this is fascism