|Date: 18 Mar 2005|
Author: Suman Guha Mozumder
The denial of visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra
Modi is "a principled and courageous action" by US
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and the State
Department, a noted Indian American academic said in
New York on Friday.
Arjun Appadurai, provost and senior vice-president of
New School University, who co-signed a letter of
protest sent to Dr Rice urging the US not to permit
Modi to come on a private visit, said he believed the
denial of visa is a recognition by the US of the
controversy surrounding Modi.
Cong supports Modi on visa | BJP approves of govt
"It indicates to the world that the United States
retains a deep commitment to human rights and a deep
commitment to the rights of the minorities and to
democratic inclusion across the world," Appadurai told
Asked to comment on Modi's assertion that the denial
of visa is an insult to the Indian Constitution and
gives a lie to US claim of respect for democracy since
no court has indicted him in connection with the
Godhra massacre, Appadurai said this is "a twisting"
Denial of Modi visa: Right or wrong?
"The fact that he has not been indicted by court of
law is a critique of our judicial institutions,"
Appadurai said Modi had been indicted by many
independent judicial and citizens' bodies and that the
Indian state and Indian judiciary should now confirm
"I believe to say that he has not been indicted by law
and therefore the denial amounts to a stifling of
democratic rights is not the correct estimate of this
case. In fact, this on the other hand is upholding of
democratic rights," he said.
Did this letter stop Modi?
Appadurai said in any case the rights of a chief
minister to come to the US on a private invitation
does not raise any constitutional issues at all.
"As far as Modi's claim of "insult to the Indian
Constitution" is concerned, it is entirely a red
herring which should not even arrive," Appadurai said.
"And if it arrives at all, it should arrive in the
context of Modi's own activities in Gujarat in 2002
and how his government violated the rights of the
minorities. That is a real constitutional issue and
not this denial of visa."