|Date: 9 Jul 2008|
New Delhi: Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA) has urged the US State Department to refuse US visa to Narendra Modi for his “continued subversion of state apparatus against securing justice to the victims of 2002 pogroms.” The advocacy group also said that Gujarat Chief Minister Modi is responsible for “institutional violations of religious freedom of the minorities in his state.”
Recent media reports suggests that Narendra Modi who had his US visa revoked in 2005, is trying to obtain a new US visa. Denial of visa by the US has seriously affected Mr. Modi’s chances of projecting a national or international image for himself. US denied the visa for his responsibility in Gujarat genocide of 2002, as head of the state machinery.
Coalition Against Genocide(CAG) formed in 2005 to campaign for denial of US visa to Mr. Modi. It has become active again and signature campaigns have started in various US cities. IMC is one of the founding organization of CAG.
President of IMC-USA Rasheed Ahmed has written a letter to the Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice detailing the institutionalized nature of the violations of the religious freedoms in the State of Gujarat including the subversion of justice to the victims of 2002 pogroms, marginalization by means of economic and social boycott and a 'freedom of religion' act which effectively curtails religious freedom by requiring to register and get approval of state officials before believing in a different faith.
The letter further stressed: "Refusing the visa to an egregious violator of religious freedoms such as Modi sends a clear message to all the Hindu nationalists who openly espouse a future India where religious minorities would at the best be second class citizens, that such actions will have consequences and they will be considered persona non grata by much of the civilized world."
In another significant development United States Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the State Department to announce Modi's ineligibility for a visa. The Commission made similar recommendation in 2005.
"We have not seen changes that would warrant a policy reversal," said Commission Chair Felice D. Gaer. "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. Mr. 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,” asked the Commission.
National Human Rights Commission faulted Modi’s government for the killing and destruction of Muslims and their properties. In 2003, several court cases were moved out of the state by the Supreme Court. In 2007, Tehelka captured several people on camera revealing roles played by government, police, and politicians in Gujarat genocide of 2002.