Edison (US), Oct 16: Voicing support for Donald Trump's pledge to fight terrorism and boost economy, over 5,000 Indian-Americans gathered here for a charity event that was attended by the Republican presidential nominee and included performances by Bollywood celebrities.
Bollywood music and performances by artists preceded the nearly 13-minute appearance by Trump at the event yesterday at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center.
Over 5,000 people, including the elderly and children, attended the nearly 5-hour event organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition, founded and chaired by Indian-American industrialist Shalabh Kumar, Chairman and CEO of the AVG Group of Companies.
The event, focussed on the theme of 'Humanity Against Terror', was rich in Indian entertainment, with celebrities Prabhu Deva, Shriya Saran and Sophie Chaudhry enthralling the audience with their performance. The event began with a video of actor Anupam Kher who spoke about the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to flee their homeland.
The event was organised with a special focus on the Kashmiri Pandit terror victims and the Bangladeshi Hindu victims. A few Trump protesters too had gathered outside the venue at the start of the event holding banners against the 70-year- old billionaire tycoon.
Indians and Indian-Americans turned out in large numbers to show their support for Trump, carrying placards that read 'Trump Make America Great Again', 'Trump for Hindu Americans', 'Trump Great For India' and 'Trump for Faster Green Cards'.
Dressed in traditional Indian finery, the audience broke into a loud applause and cheer as Trump came on stage against the backdrop of the American flag.
Trump, who was joined on the stage by Kumar and his son, lit the traditional Indian lamp before addressing the crowd. Trump too cheered the crowd, waving and clapping as he paced the stage and said "we love the Hindus, we love India," before leaving.
The crowd stood on chairs and made a beeline towards the stage area to see Trump up close and take pictures. The crowd constantly cheered for Trump, who spoke for about 13 minutes, vowing to make India and the US "best friends".
The people also broke into applause as Trump outlined his vision to take India-US bilateral relations to greater heights under a "Trump administration".
The event included performances by singer Kushal Paul, dance group Signature and local dance groups of young Indian-American children. In a video message, Senator Newt Gingrich described Kumar a "good friend" who has worked for the "best interests" of India and US.
He said the Republican Hindu Coalition is a very important building block for the future of America. Himesh, a local resident, said Trump will improve America's relations with India, particularly in the area of economy and business.
He, however, noted that Trump's speech was "very generic and not very detailed" but described him as a "very positive" person who has the potential to do something if he has a "good core team around him".