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February 20, 2005

Contact person:
Dr. Ashwini K. Rao


Demands Revocation of Invitation to Indian Politician Accused of Gujarat Pogrom

The Asian American Hotel Owner Association's (AAHOA) has created a storm in US by inviting a militant, anti-minority Indian politician to its annual convention. AAHOA will be honoring Narendra Modi, the Chief executive of the Indian state of Gujarat who is accused of sharing responsibility in the massacres, sexual mutilations and rapes of Muslims and persecution of Christians, indigenous tribes and moderate Hindus.

Narendra Modi has been indicted by various Indian and International human rights organizations for his role in the pogroms directed at the Muslim community in Gujarat in 2002. He was criticized by the Supreme Court of India as a modern day Nero for his actions during the 2002 massacres and has two cases lodged against him in the State of Gujarat.

The AAHOA's membership predominantly consists of immigrants from Modi's home state. Its decision to honor Modi in its convention and trade fair on March 24 - 26 has been controversial in the organization itself. AAHOA's decision to invite Modi raises the speculation that Indian American Professional Organizations are being infiltrated by sectarian ultra-nationalists and have become conduits for their fundraising and political support in US.

In response to these disturbing developments, a wide spectrum of organizations based in US have come together to form a coalition - Coalition Against Genocide (CAG). The member organizations in CAG have diverse backgrounds including community-based groups, developmental groups, human rights groups and academic experts that have been coordinating their efforts against the spread of religious hatred in India. CAG asserts that its stand is a just and moral stand and is in the best interest of the US society, the Indian Diaspora and India.

CAG will adopt a multi pronged strategy to expose and marginalize the extremists and will work towards safeguarding the pluralist ethos of India and the economic well being of the Indian Diaspora in US.

The Coalition has demanded that AAHOA rescind its invitation to Narendra Modi. CAG has brought to attention the fact that Modi's party has been glorifying Hitler and his genocidal policies in the state run schools. Modi is in close alliance with and promotes the extreme right-wing Hindutva movement that is supremacist and anti-minority and whose members were responsible for the assassination of Gandhi. This movement was formed on the model of Mussolini's Fascist party in the 1920s and has been glorifying Hitler since the 1930s.

CAG is hopeful that AAHOA members will take these facts into account and force its Board to rescind the invitation given to Mr. Modi.
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