A Top Joe Biden Staffer is a Supporter of India’s Authoritarian Leader Narendra Modi

A Top Joe Biden Staffer is a Supporter of India’s Authoritarian Leader Narendra Modi

Then-Vice President Joe Biden escorts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offstage during a luncheon in his honor at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2014. Photo: Cliff Owen/AP

A NEW ADVISER to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the director of outreach to the Asian-American Pacific Islander community, is a strong backer of extreme right-wing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Amit Jani took to Facebook in May to celebrate the authoritarian leader’s reelection. 

Jani, whose hiring as AAPI national vote director was announced last week, comes to Biden’s campaign from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office. He worked on AAPI outreach on Murphy’s 2017 campaign and Sen. Bob Menendez’s 2018 campaign. 

In May, after Modi secured a second term as prime minister, Jani posted a collection of photos on Facebook and wrote, “Loved the energy and jubilation throughout the state on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the Indian national elections! Proud of Deepti Jani for all the work you did during the campaign!”

Imraan Siddiqi, a civil rights activist and executive director of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the timing of Biden’s hiring of Jani raises red flags. 

“As an Indian-American, who’s seeing the humanitarian crisis imposed on Kashmir by the Modi government — it is truly troubling to see Biden elevating someone who is in support of this now bordering on fascist regime in a leadership position,” said Siddiqi, who drew attention to Jani’s support for Modi on Twitter during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate, in a written statement to The Intercept. “This week alone, 1.9 Million Indians were stripped of their citizenship in Assam — as well as prison camps being constructed by the Modi government. Add that to the ongoing far-right nationalist lynchings taking place across the country with impunity — one would think that Modi and his ideology would be a pariah politically around the world. But as we are seeing with Tulsi Gabbard and now Biden’s campaign — it appears that BJP/Hindutva politics is influencing both sides of the aisle in American politics.” (During his 2016 campaign, Trump courted Hindu nationalist voters in the United States.)