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Music, dancing and protests as Modi Express arrives in Sydney

Posted on 01/31/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

After a 12-hour train journey, singing and dancing late into the night, fans of Narendra Modi were showing no signs of fatigue as they pulled into Sydney’s Central Station.

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They were still chanting and dancing as they spilled out onto the platform shortly before 7am on Monday.

More than 220 people packed onto the specially chartered train, dubbed the “Modi Express”, from Melbourne to Sydney to hear Mr Modi’s first public address.

It’s the first time in 28 years an Indian Prime Minister has visited Australia.

“We didn’t sleep,” one passenger told SBS.

“All night we were excited. We were dancing and singing.”

On board, they were entertained by music and dance troupes, and served foods including ‘Modi Dhokla’ and ‘Modi Fafda’ – some of the Prime Minister Modi’s favourite foods.

It’s hard to imagine such an enthusiastic response to an Australian leader, but Modi devotees said they just want to make him feel welcome.

“We are here to listen to our beloved Prime Minister speak,” one said.

“We love him. We just love him!”

For many Indians, Mr Modi represents hope for change after years of disillusionment over government corruption.

“He’s very transformational,” said passenger, Bhupender Singh.

“He’s very honest, and he’s very selfless.”

The passengers came from several communities including Punjabi, Muslims, Gujarati and Kashmiris. Many had never met before the train journey, but quickly found common ground.

Jitarth Bharadwaj, from SBS Radio’s Hindi program, was onboard the train and described it as an “engaging party”.

“I met a steward on the train whose grandfather worked on a Bollywood movie,” he said.

He said the idea of travelling by train was also significant, reflecting Mr Modi’s upbringing as a poor tea-vendor on trains before his rise to the highest post in India.

Mr Bharadwaj said for most, the journey was more about community spirit than politics.

“There was a sense that people wanted to show their pride in India, and also a sense of being Australian.”

But not everyone was happy about Modi’s visit, with a small number of people today gathering outside NSW Parliament to protest the Indian Prime Minister’s visit.

One protester, who said he was a representative from the Kashmir consul of Australia, told SBS the group wanted acknowledgment from the Parliament that they objected to Modi’s visit.

“At the moment we’re all here just to record that protest and the big protest is at 4pm in Olympic Park today,” he said.

He alleged that Modi was linked with human rights abuses against Kashmir people, who he said were subject to ongoing persecution.

“If you are a minority in Kashmir you’ve got no place to live and your fundamental rights have been compromised” he said.

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