On Sunday evening, an independent group in UK known as Awaaz Network, placed a large image of Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi wielding a sword with an ‘Om’ logo slowly transforming into Swastika-a symbol also used by the German dictator Hitler.
Right on top of the image was a three-word message ‘Modi Not Welcome.’ The image, which remained on the wall of the British parliament in Westminster for more than eight minutes, was placed there by the activists belonging to Awaaz Network.
Awaaz has been working towards monitoring and combating religious hatred in south Asia and the UK. This image has now gone viral on social media platforms with opinions being sharply divided.
Modi Not Welcome also briefly trended on twitter on Monday evening.
User @rjfahad described the projection of image on British parliament ‘condemnable.’
— Fahad (@rjfahad) November 9, 2015
User @Yuvian97 called those expressing joy over the Awaaz Network’s decision as anti-nationals.
PM Modi's critics aren't anti-nationals but the jerks who are elated on seeing "Modi not welcome" are surely anti-nationals. No patriotism!
— misanthrope (@WindsOfHeaven_) November 9, 2015
However, there were considerably large number of twitter users, who described the move quite bold. Former IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, tweeted;
"Modi Not Welcome" projected onto the British Parliament in a bold show of protest against Modi's visit to the UK. pic.twitter.com/Ul7pO76KZd
— Sanjiv Bhatt (IPS) (@sanjivbhatt) November 9, 2015
User @kriratna said;
Justifying its decision, the Awaaz Network tweeted, “
#ModiNotWelcome in UK, he has overseen the preplanned killings of innocents in Gujarat 2002.”(sic)
Some supporters of PM Modi suspected the image was the outcome of a photoshop exercise. User Rupa Subramanya tweeted;
— Professional Pessimist ? (@rupasubramanya) November 9, 2015
Activist Kavita Krishnan and many others were quick to dismiss her suspicion as demonstrated by the following tweets.
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) November 9, 2015
Explaining the reason why Awaaz chose the Parliament building for its protest, the group’s director, Suresh Grover said, “”Modi has always tried to get legitimacy on the world stage by speaking at parliament. Although he is not speaking at parliament, he has been invited to be in parliament by the Speaker of the House and Mr Cameron. I think it sends a clear message that a large part of the Indian community here reject the politics of hate and intolerance, wherever it takes place – in India, Pakistan, any country in south Asia or this country.”
The group had chosen to display the image on Sunday evening to coincide the announcement of the results for Bihar elections, where the BJP suffered a humiliating defeat.