|Date: 2 Jul 2008|
Ahmedabad : While Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's supporters in the US have invited him for a world Gujarati conference in August, activists have urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not to grant him a visa given the allegations of rights violations against him.
In a petition, 25 organisations of non-resident Indians under an umbrella group, Coalition Against Genocide, have told Rice: "It has come to our attention that Narendra Modi is once again planning to apply for a visa to enter the US."
"We urge the State Department not to allow Modi to enter the country under any conditions, as the circumstances under which he was denied a visa in 2005 remain largely unchanged, and the minority communities in his state continue to face systematic human rights violations."
Modi was denied a visa to visit the US after he was accused of turning a blind eye to the communal violence in Gujarat in which at least 1,169 people, a majority of them Muslims, were killed, according to the official figures.
The letter dated July 1 states: "The US should not unwittingly be the platform from which these unrepentant and yet ascendant forces in India exploit the opportunity to rally the support base among Indian diaspora communities and raise international legitimacy and standing."
Pointing out that "not only was Modi responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 Muslims and the displacement of 200,000 more, but six years after the Gujarat-state sponsored violence", it says: "The Muslim community in Gujarat is subjected to a devastating economic and social boycott, institutionalized at every level."
Modi, along with a number of prominent Gujarati leaders, has been invited to attend the three-day second world Gujarati conference, called Chaalo Gujarat, organised by the Association of Indian Americans of North America (AIANA) and to be held in Edison in late August.