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Modi visa: BJP appreciates govt response

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 18, 2005 17:05 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday complimented the Union government for promptly taking up with the US embassay in New Delhi the denial of visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"We would like to record our appreciation of the action taken by the government of India for taking up the matter with the US embassy in New Delhi. We are glad that the government did not treat it as a partisan issue and has decided to lodge protest with the US government for denying Narendra Modi visa to visit USA. Shri Modi had been invited by the Asian Hoteliers Association for a function and he was to chair the function," senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha told reporters in New Delhi.

Also see: Modi denied visa to visit US | India asks US to review decision

He said that the Bharatiya Janata Party will also register its strong protest with the US administration separately.

A US Embassy spokesman said the decision to deny Modi visa was taken under the US Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Act prohibits anybody who is 'responsible for, or has directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom' from entering the US.

Also see: Insult to Constitution -- Modi

Modi was to pay a five-day visit to the US from March 20.

When asked if the possibility of denying visa to Modi had come up during a one-to-one meeting of US Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice with BJP president Lal Kishenchand Advani when she was in New Delhi earlier this week, Sinha said that he was not aware if the matter had come up during that meeting.

"Surely the US administration made up its mind last evening and it was conveyed to Shri Modi in the morning," he added.

Sinha wondered how a law of religious intolerance could be invoked against Modi to deny him visa. "There are certain rationales that have to be followed. What would happen if the government of India started denying visas to high US political dignitaries wanting to visit India," he asked.

Sinha hoped that the US administration would reconsider its decision and give visa to Modi to enable him to visit US.

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