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#MobRule: Veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai attacked by Modi supporters in New York

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the rock star treatment when he arrived in New York this weekend.

However, his detractors - even those who have criticized his politics and policies in the past - didn't receive the same warmth at the home of the greatest democracy on the planet.

Veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai was subjected to shocking taunts by a group of Modi supporters outside New York's iconic Madison Square Garden before one member of what Sardesai called a "frenzied mob" physically assaulted the respected TV anchor.

Sardesai, the Oxford-educated former editor-in-chief of India's IBN 18 Network, later tweeted: "Great crowd at Madison Square Garden! Except a few idiots who still believe abuse is a way of proving their machismo!"

He added, "Glad we caught the idiots on cam.  Only way to shame the mob is to show them".

The video footage of the incident has been widely circulated on YouTube and Twitter.

According to reports supporters of Mr Modi had become enraged after a tweet by Sardesai alluded to the Prime Minister staying at the same hotel as controversial Indian industrialist Gautam Adani.

Mr Adani, the billionaire owner of mining and ports giant The Adani Group, is said to have enjoyed favourable terms on a number of infrastructure projects in Mr Modi's home state of Gujarat in return for supporting Mr Modi's prime ministerial campaign.

Fellow journalist Achint Sharma took to his Facebook page to describe what occurred: "The mob called Rajdeep by names and hurled the choicest of words towards him.  When I tried to shield the fellow journalist, I realised, that I became a target as well.

"This went on for good 10-15 minutes. The NYPD was right there, but won't blame them for not knowing what was going on in the middle of that crowd of 50 odd people. The cameraman had to ensure his equipment was safe, so was trying his best he could, to fend off a few people who tried to come closer to Rajdeep. This went on for good 10 minutes.

Despite my repeated requests to stay away from Rajdeep, the mob continued to shout pro-Modi slogans right in front of his face to instigate him. A particular person wearing glasses, and once again in an orange attire, almost shoved his phone into the cameraman's lens to which Rajdeep protested.

Luckily, fellow scribes Mohit Roy Sharma and Bhupendra Chaubey arrived at the scene. Three of us literally made a human chain, to get Rajdeep out of that place.

Yes, you have every right to be a supporter, but let's not mix a fan with a fanatic. Learn to respect other people. Learn to respect to earn respect. Just a few minutes ago, the Prime Minster delivered a lovely speech about peace and how India is a great democracy. But you guys defy all logic."

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#VIDEO: ‘Rockstar’ Modi at Madison Square Gardens. Promises OCI card-holders lifetime visas.

It was an entrance reminiscent of a prize-fighter entering the ring for a multi-million dollar bout or a legendary rock star returning to the stage for a last hurrah.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, once banned from stepping foot on US soil over anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, appeared at New York's iconic Madison Square Garden on Sunday and was greeted by thousands of people and a glitzy show of lights, lasers and slogans.

Mr Modi delivered a triumphal address to the packed audience, which included a large contingent of Muslims, at a venue that has previously played host to the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

The Prime Minister urged the wealthy and successful Indian Diaspora community to join his movement for the development of India.

"The Indian-American community has played a big role in changing the way the world views India – from a nation of snake-charmers, to people who are adept at working the electronic mouse," he said.

"A government alone cannot achieve development for the whole country, but it can be done if the public were to participate in the development work," Modi said.

His speech came ahead of a first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, who has described the Indo-American relationship as "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st Century."

Members of the 3.2 million-strong Indian diaspora, cheered and chanted "Modi, Modi!" during his 70-minute address in Hindi at Madison Square Garden, where they made up one of the largest crowds seen in the United States for a foreign leader.

On Saturday, Modi appeared before some 60,000 people at the Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park, where performers including Jay Z and Sting backed a campaign to end global poverty and bring essentials such as sanitation to all - an effort the Indian leader is pushing at home.

On Sunday, Modi drew an especially loud cheer when he made a long-awaited announcement that those holding cards showing they were of Indian origin would be granted lifetime visas to India.

"No government has done anything like this for us so far," said Jayashree Iyer, a New Jersey resident who had come with her family to hear Modi speak.

Her two daughters would not now have to keep renewing their visas, said Iyer, who has been in the United States for four years.

India's U.S. diaspora makes up only about one percent of the U.S. population, but it is growing fast, highly educated and increasingly influential, including leaders of government agencies and high-tech corporations such as Microsoft, where India-born Satya Nadella became CEO this year.

Many Indian-Americans have embraced Modi and his pro-business message and hope his visit will show India's importance not only in the United States but in the wider world too.

At Madison Square Garden were more than 30 members of the U.S. Congress hoping for expanded business and political ties with India's 1.2 billion people as a result of reforms Modi has pledged.

It was a far cry from 2005, when the 64-year-old former chief minister of Gujarat was denied a U.S. visa over rioting in his home state that killed more than 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, three years before.

Modi, who denies wrongdoing, has been exonerated by an Indian Supreme Court investigation.

However, the issue has not been forgotten and Modi's U.S. trip had an awkward start on Friday after a little-known human rights group filed a lawsuit against him in New York, alleging that he failed to stop the Gujarat riots.

Back in Gujarat at the weekend, authorities arrested at least 40 people after late-night clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the city of Vadodara.

Modi's May election triumph was driven largely by his vow to revive the economy after years of sub-par growth.

On Monday, Modi will meet U.S. corporate leaders, including those of Google IBM, GE, Goldman Sachs and Boeing, in a bid to lure fresh foreign investment.

However, the U.S. business lobby has yet to be convinced by his reform rhetoric and has called on Obama to press the Indian leader to remove barriers to fair trade.

U.S. officials have played down the possibility of big-ticket announcements during Modi's visit, but they are hoping it will lay the groundwork for closer long-term ties with a country Washington sees as a key counterbalance in Asia to an increasingly assertive China.

U.S. weapons makers are watching closely for signs of a closer strategic relationship with the United States, which has proposed a host of new defense cooperation projects.

Sources familiar with the matter said last week that India is expected to choose US-made naval helicopters in a deal worth over $1 billion and that a decision could come during Modi's visit.

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#Ubiquitous: Stunning new exhibition explores Sikh identity

The Sikh man's meticulously-bound turban and magnificent beard are arguably the world's most recognizable symbols of faith, known around the world and unequivocal in its sense of drama and religious allegiance.

Now, London-based photographers Amit and Naroop - best known for their work photographing the likes of Ricky Gervais, Tinie Tempah and boxer Ricky Hatton - have turned their lenses to capture the magnificent splendour of these two ubiquitous symbols of Sikhism through a collection of photographs, aptly titled 'Singh'.

The collection is signature Amit and Naroop - close-up, impactful and dramatic - and features British Sikh men from all walks of life: from a young student brandishing a 'Talwar' sword and an immaculately attired watchmaker through a Sikh storyteller and Highway Planner with a striking resemblance to Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor to a well-known comedian, magician and even a Surrey-based polo player.  

The most striking aspect of the collection of 35 photographs is not merely the subjects' varied backgrounds but also the manner in which each one of them gives their own twist to the two symbols that bind them together through their faith.

From the whimsical to the conservative, vivid to the muted, the sizes, shapes and colours of the turbans are matched in their variety by the men's' magnificent beards: from the stylishly cropped to the free-flowing.

The photographers say: “Many religions determine the way their followers look, but none have such a dramatic and definite ‘look’ as Sikhism.

"And yet, with 30 million Sikhs in the world, there are almost as many ways to wear the turban and beard as there are Sikhs.

"The men who feature in this project are businessmen, boxers, IT professionals, doctors, fashion stylists, temple volunteers, magicians and a host of other occupations all adapting and interpreting the Sikh traditions in their own way.”

Amit and Naroop - Punjabi Sikhs who were born and raised in Southall - say the collection is a "marriage of our faith and skill" and "represents our identity as British born photographers and our roots."

The 'Singh' project has already garnered plenty of attention and acclaim, raising more than £10,000 of funding (beating the original target of £7000) through Kickstarter for a free exhibition that takes place 3 - 15 November at the Framers Gallery in Central London.

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