US will deny visa to Narendra Modi

August 30th, 2008 - 12:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 30 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be denied a visa to attend the World Gujarati Conference being held in New Jersey over the weekend, according to the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG).The US State Department has confirmed this in a letter to Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who had petitioned it July 8 against issuing a visa for Modi, the body formed in response to the Gujarat 2002 riots to demand justice said Friday.

“The Department of State is extremely sensitive to your concerns and we are cognisant of the human rights abuses Modi has committed,” Mathew Reynolds, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said in his reply circulated by the CAG.

“We have thoroughly searched Department records and located no current non-immigrant visa applications for Modi. However, should we receive an application, we assure you it will be adjudicated in strict accordance with the Immigration and Naturalisation Act,” the official said.

Commenting on the letter, Hyder Khan of the CAG said “the current response from the State Department has virtually made Narendra Modi a persona non grata to the US”.

A total of 32 lawmakers have so far written letters to the State Department expressing concern over human rights abuses in Gujarat and urging the denial of US visa to Modi, the CAG said in a media release.

A concerted grassroots campaign by member organisations of the CAG generated over 12,000 individual letters to US lawmakers across the United States, the group said.

These letters were written by members of the Indian diaspora and other Americans, expressing alarm and concern over Modi’s reported US visit and the continuing persecution of minorities in his state.

The CAG also appealed to the organisers of the World Gujarati Conference “to abandon the politicians and politics of division and hate as embodied by Narendra Modi and embrace the ideals of Gujarat’s greatest hero, Mahatma Gandhi”.

“By persistently inviting the most notorious human rights abuser in India and propping Narendra Modi as their icon and hero, the organisers of the World Gujarati conference have brought shame to the Indian American community and have tarnished the name of India,” said Hari Sharma of CAG.

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