|Date: 13 Jul 2008|
WASHINGTON: Democratic Party Senator Betty McCollum has written a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging her not to grant visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
She accused Modi of violating right to religious freedom and said: "Granting a visa to Narendra Modi would be contradictory to international law and would only serve to validate the Chief Minister's abhorrent policies and actions."
The Democratic lawmaker from Minnesota serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations and the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.
"Denying Modi a visa to enter the US not only will uphold the law but will send an important message that Modi's reprehensible statements, policies and actions are abhorrent to the laws and values of the United States, said the letter dated July 3, 2008.
Modi was invited in June to attend a Gujarati culture conference in New Jersey in August. Earlier in 2005, Modi was denied entry to the US to attend the same conference citing his role as the chief minister during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The senior BJP leader has said he would not apply for visa until he was assured that his application would not be turned down.
The State Department had in 2005 revoked his visa under the INA, which prohibits foreign government officials who are responsible for severe violations of religious freedom from obtaining US visas.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had also urged the US State Department "to reaffirm its past decision to deny a tourist visa to Modi.
There was no immediate response from the State Department whether there is any change in the US policy on granting visa to Modi.