|Date: 18 Feb 2005|
Source: Hindustan Times
Narendra Modi is a lightning rod not just to his many detractors within India. An American advocacy group is now spearheading a campaign to see that he is denied a visa for his planned US sojourn next month.
The Washington DC-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP) is collecting signatures to prevent Modi from entering US.
Modi is to be the chief guest at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association's annual convention and trade show at Fort Lauderdale, Florida from March 24 to 26. The association is dominated by hoteliers of Indian origin, predominantly from Gujarat.
In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the IRPP argues that Modi should be denied a visa in accordance with the US's International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. It charges him with "repeated engagement in particularly severe violations of religious freedom".
"Secretary Rice, we ask that you do not allow this egregious violator the privilege of entering the United States," says the letter written by IRPP's director of programmes Benjamin Thomas. It says in case Modi already holds a US visa, his entry into the country should be "barred".
The letter speaks of Modi's "campaign of extremism targeting religious minorities in Gujarat", particularly the "orchestrated attacks” of 2002.