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The Rediff Special/
Did this letter stop Modi?
March 18, 2005
A spokesman of the US embassy in New Delhi said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been denied a diplomatic visa and his tourist/business visa already granted had been revoked as per the US Immigration and Nationality Act.
Following is the text of a letter United States Congressman from Pennsylvania Joe Pitts and 21 other US Congressmen sent Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice requesting that Modi be denied permission to enter the US 'due to numerous reports of his involvement in horrific human rights violations in India.'
March 7, 2005
The Honorable Dr Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
US Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Rice:
We are writing to raise our deep concern about the upcoming visit of Mr Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, India. As you may know, Mr Modi has been invited to be the chief guest at the annual conference of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association to be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from March 24-26, 2005. We respectfully request that the US government deny Mr Modi entry to the United States due to numerous reports of his involvement in horrific human rights violations in India.
As you may know, Mr Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots in which over 2,000 Indian Muslims and non-Hindus lost their lives. Since that time, reports suggest that over 100,000 people remain displaced and are unable to return to their homes or communities. Numerous inquiries by Indian officials and non-government organisations have determined that the state government in Gujarat, led by Chief Minister Modi, provided leadership and material support for the rape and murder of over 2,000 people, including women and young children, and the destruction of homes, businesses and resources primarily belonging to Indian Muslims. Mr Modi made public statements and directed official actions seemingly calculated at justifying his orders to increase attacks on and kill religious minorities while ordering the police not to interfere.
After an extensive investigation of the violence in Gujarat, Human Rights Watch stated that the "attacks against Muslims (and other religious minorities) in Gujarat have been actively supported by state (BJP) government officials and by the police."
In addition, The Citizens Tribunal in India, led by retired Supreme Court Justice V R Krishna Iyer, concluded that the state government of Gujarat under the leadership of Chief Minister Narendra Modi was responsible for the violence perpetrated against religious minorities in Gujarat in 2002. Furthermore, the US Department of State reported that in "Gujarat, there continued to be credible evidence of prejudice in favor of Hindus and an unwritten policy of impunity against the perpetrators of the 2002 religious violence."
Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his government have obstructed attempts to bring the perpetrators of the 2002 violence to justice. Mr Modi and his administration closed the files on over 2,000 police cases where the non-Hindu victims filed reports of rapes, killings and destruction of their property. The Gujarat state administration claimed there was no evidence to prosecute those cases. However, most of the people named in cases against the police are associated with Mr Modi's political party.
In a recent unprecedented order, the Supreme Court of India ordered the reopening of all those cases to be tried in a neighbouring state by a special bench of judges. The Supreme Court of India called Mr Modi a "modern day Nero" and warned him not to meddle with the proceeding of the trials.
Furthermore, the US State Department has discussed in one of its reports the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his government in promoting attitudes of racial supremacy, racial hatred and the legacy of Nazism through his government's support of school textbooks in which Nazism is condoned.
For example, in a high school social studies textbook, the "charismatic personality" of "Hitler the Supremo" and the "achievements" of Nazism are described at length. The textbook does not even acknowledge Nazi extermination policies or concentration camps except for a passing reference to "a policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and [advocacy for] the supremacy of the German race."
In addition to his reported culpability in the Gujarat riots and his promotion of racist ideology, there are widespread reports of Mr Modi's leadership of the harassment of Christian religious and educational organizations over a number of years. Further, on a daily basis Chief Minister Modi and his government actively harass Christian leaders and Christian religious organizations who are involved in the relief and rehabilitation work of the victims of violence by extremist Hindus.
Even further, Mr Modi ordered a census, ruled illegal by the Gujarat High Court, of the Christian community -- the same action he took prior to the orchestrated attacks on Muslims in 2002. Even Indian Hindus who oppose Modi's violent tactics against the religious minorities are harassed and intimidated by state authorities. And, under his leadership, the state of Gujarat passed an anti-conversion law in strong violation of the Indian Constitution and international human rights norms to which India is a party.
We are deeply concerned that a visit to the United States by Chief Minister Modi is in violation of the International Religious Freedom Act and will provide tacit approval of his reprehensible statements, policies and actions that violate the core of the fundamental human rights upon which our nation is founded. We respectfully request your leadership in publicly condemning his actions and policies by denying Chief Minister Narendra Modi the right to enter our country.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We look forward to hearing from you.
Congressman Joe Pitts