Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are among the several US politicians who plan on boycotting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in the US Congress on Thursday.
AOC tweeted that Congress should not extend such an honor to “individuals with deeply troubling human rights records – particularly for individuals whom our own State Department has concluded are engaged in systematic human rights abuses of religious monitoes and caste-opressed minorities.”
“I encourage my colleagues who stand for pluralism, tolerance, and freedom of the press to join me in doing the same,” the New York Democrat tweeted on Wednesday.
Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar said that they are boycotting the address.
“It’s shameful that Modi has been given a platform at our nation’s capital — his long history of human rights abuses, anti-democratic actions, targeting Muslims & religious minorities, and censoring journalists is unacceptable. I will be boycotting Modi’s joint address to Congress,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter.
“Prime Minister Modi’s government has repressed religious minorities, emboldened violent Hindu nationalist groups, and targeted journalists/human rights advocates with impunity. I will NOT be attending Modi’s speech,” Omar added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders had urged President Joe Biden to raise issues in his meeting with PM Modi. The Indian politician landed in Washington DC on Wednesday as part of a three-day State visit to the United States.
“Prime Minister Modi’s government has cracked down on the press and civil society, jailed political opponents, and pushed an aggressive Hindu nationalism that leaves little space for India’s religious minorities. President Biden should raise these facts in his meeting with Modi,” Sanders tweeted.
It is unclear if Sanders will attend Modi’s speech.
Meanwhile, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden is expected to bring up US concerns about democratic backsliding in India.
“When the US sees challenges to press, religious or other freedoms, we make our views known,” Sullivan said.
He added: “We do so in a way where we don’t seek to lecture or assert that we don’t have challenges ourselves.”