|Date: 18 Mar 2005|
NEW DELHI: The US has denied visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit the country apparently because of Gujarat riots.
Modi has been denied diplomatic visa and his tourist/business visa, already granted, has also been revoked under a section of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, a spokesman of the US embassy here said.
It prohibits anybody who was "responsible for or directly carried out at anytime, particularly severe violations of religious freedom."
The Chief Minister was to pay a five-day visit to US from March 20 and some Indian-American groups had threatened to organise protests against him.
"We can confirm that Chief Minister of Gujarat state Narendra Modi applied for but was denied the diplomatic visa under Section 214 (B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act because he was not coming for the purpose that qualified for diplomatic visa," the spokesman said.
"His tourist/business visa was revoked under Section 212 (a) (2) (g) of the Act which makes any government official who was responsible for or directly carried out at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, ineligible for visa," he added.
During the visit billed by the organisers as a "business trip," Modi was scheduled to address the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) in Fort Lauderade, Florida, a public meeting in New York and meet business leaders.
Some groups had formed a "tri-state coalition against genocide" (TSCAG) to protest the visit and had planned to hold demonstrations both in Fort Lauderade and New York during his addresses. The adjoining New York, New Jersey and Connecticut states are generally referred to as 'tri-state.'
The association Indian-Americans of North America (AIANA), which is organising the public meeting in Madison Square Garden in New York, had rejected the criticism of Modi, saying that the Chief Minister's visit has nothing to do with politics and is strictly for business during which he would showcase India in general and Gujarat in particular.