Saturday, April 28, 2012

US' reaffirmation of visa denial to Modi welcomed by IAMC

The Indian American Muslim Council ( an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos today welcomed the US State Department's reiteration of its position on the issue of a US visa for Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Congressman Walsh had called on the US government to lift the ban on issuing a US visa to Mr. Modi. On April 25, 2012, the State Department's spokesperson Victoria Nuland responded to questions from reporters on Congressman Walsh's letter. "Our position on the visa issue has not changed at all," Ms. Nuland stated categorically, reaffirming the government's position that Mr. Modi continues to remain inadmissible under current US law. Section 212 (a)(2)(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, makes foreign government officials ineligible for a visa should the State Department deem them complicit in severe violations of religious freedom.  

Mr. Modi is the prime accused in a case filed by human rights organization "Citizens for Justice and Peace" and Gujarat carnage survivor Mrs. Zakia Jafri, where he is accused of conspiracy to commit mass murder, to influence the course of public justice and to destroy public records. An amicus curiae appointed by India's Supreme Court has found sufficient evidence to charge and prosecute him for the carnage in 2002 that resulted in the killing of over 2,000 people and the displacement of over 150,000.  

"Even after the horrific pogrom in Gujarat 2002, there has been no reprieve for the minorities in Gujarat. The continued violations of religious freedom in the state, in the form of extra-judicial killings, pathetic living conditions of people displaced since 2002, as well as economic discrimination against minorities reflect the culture of impunity cultivated by Mr. Modi and his administration," said Mr. Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC. "The State Department's refusal to reconsider the ban on Modi's visa should also be seen in light of the ongoing struggle to secure justice and reparation for the victims of the Gujarat carnage of 2002," added Mr. Khateeb.  
IAMC has called upon India's Supreme Court to look into irregularities in the functioning of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Court and to ensure that the masterminds of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 are brought to justice. 

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation.

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