|Date: 22 Feb 2005|
Author: Ehtasham Khan
The Gujarat communal violence, which killed over 2,000 and rendered thousands homeless in 2002, continues to haunt Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Protests organised by human rights activists in the US ahead of his Florida trip proves this.
The Asian American Hotel Owners Association has invited Modi as the guest of honour at its convention in Fort Lauderdale in Florida on March 24.
A group of human rights activists and civil rights organisations under the banner of 'Coalition Against Genocide' have decided to protest against Modi at the convention.
The activists have posted messages on their websites and send e-mails requesting people to support their campaign. The council in its website also announced the launch of a 'multi-pronged campaign against Modi'.
Coalition Against Genocide also started a mass signature campaign to protest against the State Department's decision to grant a visa to Modi.
The Indian Muslim Council-USA, which is part of the coalition, calls Modi 'an architect of genocide and mass rapes of Gujarati Muslims'.
The IMC-USA has send copies of a documentary film based on the Gujarat riots called Final Solutions to US policymakers and the media.
The coalition's press statement said, "Inviting him (Modi) is an outrageous act and must be condemned and countered. We must use this occasion to apprise the US government, its policymakers and media and human rights activists of the fact that the victims of Gujarat genocide are still being persecuted."
During the Gujarat riots in March 2002, Modi's government was blamed for tacitly supporting the rioters. Majority of the victims were Muslims.
Modi also faced opposition during his London trip on August 18, 2003. Over 200 people with placards and banners had protested his visit and even demanded his prosecution.