|Date: 3 Jul 2008|
Source: Times of India
NEW YORK: The Indian-American groups across the United States are sharply divided over invitation sent to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to attend the second World Gujarati Conference to be held in New Jersey.
While some organisations are working behind the scene mounting pressure on the US government to grant him visa to attend the meet, the Coalition Against Genocide, an umbrella organisation of some 25 bodies, has written a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking her to deny visa to the chief minister.
The invitation was sent by the Association of Indian Americans in North America (AIANA), organisers of the meet, but its President Sunil Nayak had said issuance of visa is a matter between American authorities and Modi. However, he had expressed the hope that Modi would be able to attend the three-day conference beginning from Aug 29 in which some 50,000 Gujaratis from the world over are expected to participate.
Modi was denied visa to the Gujarati Conference in 2005 in view of anti-Muslim riots in the state for which some organisations had blamed him but he did talk to the delegates and press through a video link.
In its letter to Rice, the Coalition Against Genocide requested her not to allow Modi to enter the United States "under any conditions" as, it said, circumstances under which he was denied visa earlier remain "largely unchanged" and "minority communities in the state continue face systematic human rights violations."
"Modi has not only expressed no remorse for the 2002 violence; but he has continued to justify them, as he has a spate of extra judicial killings by his police. And, the state continues to persecute civil society groups who have been trying to speak up for the victims under very difficult circumstances," said the letter.