|Date: 9 Jul 2008|
Source: Press Trust of India
Washington, July 9 (PTI) A US government advisory agency has asked the State Department not to reverse its decision to deny a tourist visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly abetting human rights violations.
The Commission on International Religious Freedom "again urges the State Department to announce Modi's ineligibility for a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). We have not seen changes that would warrant a policy reversal," the federal agency's Chairman Felice D Gaer said.
Modi was invited last month 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 will 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.
"As official bodies of the government of India have found, Narendra Modi is culpable for the egregious and systematic human rights abuses wrought against thousands of India's Muslims.
"Modi must demonstrate to the State Department and to the American people why he as a person found to have aided and abetted gross violations of human rights, including religious freedom should now be eligible for a tourist visa," Gaer said. PTI