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Diaspora Artists Host Protest Show In New York Against J&K Legislation

DJ Rekha, punk rock band The Kominas, electronic/alt artist Vandana and indie rock band Zerobridge come together ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s U.S. visit

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Sep 22, 2019

DJ Rekha. Photo: Nisha Sondhe

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There has been a somewhat lacklustre wave of dissent among musicians in India on the ongoing blackout in Jammu & Kashmir — following the central government’s decision to turn the state into different union territories. However, South Asian artists in the U.S. aren’t ones to quieten down when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicks off his American trip with the Howdy Modi event in Houston, Texas today.

In New York City’s Brooklyn music venue Baby’s All Right, an event pulls in the completely opposite end of the spectrum of support for the Prime Minister, calling itself Fuck Modi: Noise for Kashmir. From 1 pm to 5 pm, veteran DJ Rekha, electronic/alternative artist Vandana, Pakistani-American punk-rock band The Kominas will perform alongside “secret special guests.” Kashmiri-origin American rock band Zerobridge, who have been active since the early 2000s and called it quits in 2017, will reunite for a performance as well. The show is hosted by Chicago-based comedian and writer Arish Singh.

A statement released by the event organizers stated that their specific focus is around the Modi government’s “military lockdown of Kashmir” and the current implementation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam. “It is more important than ever for South Asians of conscience across the diaspora to come together in opposition to Modi, and as artists who identify outspokenly with our South Asian background, we want to do our part.” Part of the proceeds of the show will go towards “relief efforts in Kashmir,” the release adds.

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The show also invites activist groups ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to New York later this week. The event describes itself as “a protest show rallying one and all to give the Prime Minister a true New York welcome filled with opposition demonstrations as he heads to city the 23rd through the 28th.”

Event details here. Watch the video for The Kominas – “Freedom” below. 

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