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Modi visa issue polarises Indians in US
Date: 18 Mar 2005
Source: Deccan Herald
Author: L K Sharma

The Coalition Against Genocide not only convinced US Congressmen to take an anti-Modi stand but also asked sponsors of the meet to withdraw.

The denial of a US visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has angered his supporters in the Indian community in America. But it has been welcomed by his critics who often remind the Americans of Mr Modi’s role in the communal riots in Gujarat.

The State Department’s action is seen as a victory of the anti-Modi campaign by an umbrella organisation ‘Coalition Against Genocide’ (CAG) that is demanding justice for the riot victims.

The campaign earlier had persuaded a TV talk show host Chris Mathew's not to participate in the convention of the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association where the chief minister was to be the chief guest. They also asked some American companies to withdraw their sponsorship because Mr Modi was going to attend the function to be held from March 24 in Florida.

The business organisation of hotel and motel owners, dominated by Gujaratis, had hoped to benefit from Mr Modi’s visit but the invitation to him has turned out to be a public relations disaster.

NRIs divided

The incident further polarised the Indians living in the US, some of whom owe allegiance to the BJP and are not sensitive to communal strife in India. While they have a vast network, the campaigners against attempts to diminish secular India seek help from the like-minded groups in the US.

The Gujarat riots activated the Indian Muslim Council, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting pluralism in the US and India. As a member of the CAG, it welcomed the denial of the US visa to Mr Modi.

Dr Shaik Ubaid, council president, said the State Department’s decision was a great victory for pluralism, justice and rule of law. He said, “the RSS was launching Mr Modi as their next Vajpayee, their next Prime Minister. The launch site has now become the burial ground of this sinister plan.”

He congratulated Secretary of State Rice for taking a moral stand against religious hatred and pogroms and hoped that the US government will now investigate the activities of Hindutva hate groups in the US.

Hopes dashed

While many members of the hotel owners’ association may not have felt comfortable about the Gujarat chief minister’s visit, the office-bearers had hoped that the Gujarat chief minister’s visit might open new business opportunities.

However, some Indian social activists saw that the invitation to Mr Modi designed to promote the “Hindutva agenda” in India by filling the coffers of his party and by projecting him as the potential leader of the BJP capable of appearing on the national and international stage.

The hotel owners’ organisation has some influence among the US lawmakers but then the anti-communal activists took their campaign to the same constituency. The CAG convinced some Congressmen to take a stand against Mr Modi’s visit.

The campaign was supported by university professors, human rights and civil rights groups.

CAG Reports

Affiliations of Faith (Part II): Joined at the Hip

Affiliations of Faith (Part I): HAF and the Global Sangh

Genocide in Gujarat - The Sangh Parivar, Narendra Modi, and the Government of Gujarat

Final Solution Preview
Final Solution


  Final Solution is a study of the politics of hate. Set in Gujarat during the period February/March 2002 - July 2003, the film examines the genocidal violence of the Hindutva right-wing by exploiting the Godhra train incident and then goes on to document the various acts of brutality that marked the violence that followed. It travels with the election campaign during the Assembly elections in Gujarat in late 2002, and documents the spread of hate and fascism that accompanied it.