Protestors waved flags and chanted as India Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump. “We’re here today basically to raise awareness of the human rights violations that are happening with India,” Jatinder Grewal, director of Sikhs for Justice told CBN News.
Over the past few years under Modi’s rule, conditions for Sikhs, Christians and other religious minorities have grown difficult. “When Modi came into power in 2014 he promised the Christians and other minorities that he would allow freedom of religion, he lied,” declared Pastor Rob Rotola, who also protested outside the White House.
“The only people that have favored status in India is not all people; it’s the Hindu nationalist,” he said. “It’s the far extremist party that tends to violence. And as these groups have ramped up the violence, the police state and the government looks the other way, and is allowing it to happen.”
“I am here to speak for the Indian church,” said Bishop John Lutembeka, a missionary in India, “the Indians who are being persecuted by Prime Minister Modi, by a group of radical Hindus.”
“Christians have been killed, women have been raped and Hindu is taking more part in India and it wants to turn India into a Hindu nation and this is what has brought us here to protest,” he continued, “to show that world that even the conversation that President Trump will have with Prime Minister Modi should put into consideration that tolerance of different religious. Let not one Hindu religion be over other religions and begin to persecute them.”
White House officials have said the president likes to deal with delicate matters like human rights and religious liberty violations in private when speaking to world leaders. However, it’s unclear if the president raised any concerns during his meetings with Modi.
Modi arrived on the south side of the White House, the protestors were on the north side so it’s also unclear if he ever saw them. The president said the U.S. and India “agree on most things” and joked that “by the end of the day we’ll agree on everything. I have a feeling”. He said India has agreed to partner with the U.S. in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. India is also purchasing $365 million worth of military transport aircraft with another $2 billion sale of U.S. made unarmed drones to be finalized soon.