Saturday, April 28, 2012

‘Time’ mag appearance doesn’t help Modi

Not long back Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi featured on the cover page of the prestigious Time magazine, but he continues to be a pariah when it comes to getting a US visa.
When a US congressman, a few days back, asked the government to revise its policy on granting visa to Modi, the state department reiterated its policy and rejected the plea. 
Modi had applied for a diplomatic visa as he had planned to travel to the US to address a convention of Asian American hotel owners, many of whom are Gujaratis. But given the allegations of his complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the US had denied him visa announcing that it had taken the decision under the US Immigration and Nationality Act. The Act prohibits anybody who was ‘responsible for, or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ from entering the US.

Stung by the US snub, Modi has in the last few years addressed the Gujarati community in the US through video conferencing. Few days back, a US Congressman, Joe Walsh, had written to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking a change in US policy vis-a-vis Modi. Modi off late has tried to use his developmental image to bring about a change in American approach. 

But the riot taint seems to be too deep to bring about a change in American policy. Modi still awaits the judicial outcome on the closure report submitted by the Special Investigation Team in an Ahmedabad court recently.