Some Came for the Bollywood Show, Others for Trump

Trump lighting the lamp in Humanity United Against Terror event in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mohammed Jaffer/SnapsIndia)

Lighting the lamp at the Humanity United Against Terror event in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mohammed Jaffer/SnapsIndia via Desi Talk)

Not all of the thousands who turned out for a Bollywood-themed event at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, New Jersey, came to see its top-billed speaker – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Described as a fundraiser for victims of terrorism in India and Bangladesh, many came for the Bollywood performances.

Desi Talk’s Ela Dutt describes how the stage was set as though for an appearance by the presidential candidate.

The Bollywood routines drew on a national security theme featuring a terror attack, a mock execution by masked men with fake machine guns, a scene where actors took the U.S. pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem.

Those that did come to see the candidate lauded his visit and what it meant for the community.

Trump’s ardent supporter A. D. Amar, founder of the PAC Indian-Americans for Trump, was at the rally. He told Desi Talk the event was “very critical” for Indian-Americans and showed how they had “come of age.” Bollywood’s popularity, he said was another symbol of that. “It shows Indian culture and its growing dominance in the United States.” (…)

Dr. Rajashree Kantha-Bhatnagar, of Bergen County, New Jersey, told Desi Talk, “I have converted.”

In the U.S. for the last 24 years, Kantha-Bhatnagar was a Democrat until recently. She now believes Trump will be “tough” against “radical Islamic terrorists.”

“Trump was the first to distinguish between Hindus and non-Hindus,” Kantha-Bhatnagar said. “He has teased out the nuances very well,” she added. “Maybe everybody was not there for Trump,” she conceded, “But they ended up standing and clapping for him for a long time,” she said.

Kantha-Bhatnagar is a member of the Republican Hindu Coalition, which organized the event.

Meanwhile, outside the convention center, some 15 Democratic state officials joined dozens of Indian-American Clinton supporters for a counter-protest, which included a condemnation of Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims.

Amit Jani, the New Jersey representative of South Asians for Hillary, told Desi Talk: “We wanted to show that Trump did not speak for us as a whole – whether it is the Hindu community or the 3.4 million Indian-Americans around the country.”

He commented, “It was deceptive the way they built it up as a Bollywood charity concert. I spoke to several people who came to the concert and they said they did not know it was a political event.”

Go to Desi Talk to read more from the event.

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