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27 US Lawmakers want Modi’s visa ban extended; Coalition Against Genocide gets support from more congresspersons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 9, 2008

Washington D.C.: Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) which is widely campaigning on Capitol Hill has bagged support from 27 more US lawmakers in urging the State Department to continue the ban on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from entering the United States.

In an important rebuke to Mr. Modi, twenty seven prominent lawmakers led by Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-PA) have urged the State Department to once again reaffirm its decision to keep Mr Modi from entering the United States. It was reported earlier that the Gujarat Chief Minister might apply for a visa to attend the World Gujarati Conference in New Jersey from August 29th - 31st 2008 on the invitation of Gujarati businessmen with strong ties to extreme Hindu nationalist ideologies.

Congressman Joseph Pitts and twenty six co-signers urged the State Department, in the letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to take note of the serious human rights violations, persecution of minorities and total disregard of religious freedom practiced in direct contravention of International Human Rights norms and treaties by the BJP Government in Gujarat. They drew specific attention to the plight of the 100,000 victims of genocide unable to return to their homes, followed by the continuous attempts to obstruct a legitimate and fair trial to bring the perpetrators of the 2002 communal genocide to justice. “Mr. Modi and his administration closed the files on over 2,000 police cases where the victims filed reports of rapes, killings and destruction of their property” noted the letter.

Earlier last year, in an exposé by the investigative magazine Tehelka, the Gujarat state prosecutor appointed by Mr. Modi was captured on video confessing to protecting the perpetrators of the 2002 violence. Further, one of the accused involved in the killings, detailed the favor from Modi's office to have several court judges transferred to protect him from any convictions.

The letter also drew attention to the State Department Report on the Gujarat Government’s promotion of Nazi Ideology “The role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his government in promoting attitudes of racial supremacy, racial hatred and the legacy of Nazism through his government’s support of school textbooks in which Nazism is condoned. For example, in a high school social studies textbook, the “charismatic personality” of “Hitler the Supremo” and the” achievements” of Nazism are described at length. The textbook does not even acknowledge Nazi extermination policies or concentration camps except for a passing reference to a policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and [advocacy for] the supremacy of the German race”.

This letter comes close on the heels by similar letters written by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urging similar action against Mr. Modi, who has been characterized as the architect of the pogroms in 2002 against the Muslim community by several Citizens' panels and Human Rights organizations in India and abroad.

The Coalition Against Genocide includes a diverse spectrum of organizations and individuals in the United States and Canada that have come together in response to the Gujarat genocide to demand accountability and justice.

CONTACT:
Dr. Hari Sharma
Phone: 604-420-2972

Dr. Hyder Khan
Phone/Fax: 443-927-9039

Email: media@coalitionagainstgenocide.org
Website: http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org


REFERENCES:

Did this letter stop Modi?
Text of the previous letter written in 2002 by Congressman Joesph Pitts and 21 others urging the US State Department for Modi’s visa denial.
Rediff.com, March 18, 2005
http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/mar/18pitts.htm

Five years on - the bitter and uphill struggle for justice in Gujarat
Amnesty International Report, published on March 2007, 19 pages.
http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA20/007/2007/en/ dom-ASA200072007en.pdf

India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police
Amnesty International Briefing, published on May 24, 2007, 15 pages.
http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA20/011/2007/en/ dom-ASA200112007en.pdf

India: Gujarat Chief Minister Endorses Unlawful Killings
Human Rights Watch, December 7, 2007
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/12/07/india17510_txt.htm

'Nazi' row over Indian textbooks
Human rights campaigners in India's Gujarat state have condemned school textbooks which they say praise Hitler.
BBC News UK, July 23, 2005
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4711475.stm

Devil's Advocate
(Transcript of Gujarat Advocate General Arvind Pandya confessing to protecting the perpetrators of 2002 Gujarat massacres, captured on a hidden camera by Tehelka Magazine in a recent expose)
http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107DEVIL.asp
VIDEO CONFESSION: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9KlevWeYrE

"After Killing Them, I Felt Like Maharana Pratap"
(Transcript of Babu Bajrangi's confessions caught on a hidden video camera by Tehelka Magazine in a recent expose)
http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107After_killing.asp
VIDEO CONFESSION: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfnTl_Fwvbo

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