|Letter to AAHOA by Dr.Beheruz N. Sethna|
February 22, 2005
The President and Board
Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)
66 Lenox Pointe N.E.
Atlanta Georgia 30324
You perhaps have heard of me as President of the University of West Georgia, the first Indian-born person ever to be appointed President of an American University, and the first President of a University of College in Georgia of any ethnic minority. I also have spoken to over a thousand movers and shakers in the Greater Atlanta area on the many glories of India. I mention all this only to provide background for a case that could damage you and all of us irreparably in the eyes of the broad-based U.S. media and public.
Today, I write to you in my personal capacity to express grievous concern at your invitation to Narendra Modi to speak at your convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on March 24-26, 2005.
Mr. Modi has been indicted by reputable Indian and International human rights organizations for his role in the ethnic cleansing and pogroms against the Muslim community in Gujarat, India in 2002, in addition to having two cases lodged against him in the state of Gujarat.
In the state-sponsored pogrom in Gujarat, thousands of people were killed and made refugees, hundreds of women and young girls were brutally raped and tortured, religious places of worship were defiled and destroyed, and property loss and damage ran to millions of dollars. These heinous crimes were not only committed under Gujarat Chief Minister Modi's watch, but also condoned by him. The Supreme Court of India has rebuked the State Government of Gujarat for its faulty and discriminatory handling of more than 2000 cases that were never even properly investigated let alone tried. The Gujarat State government under Mr. Modi continues to discriminate against minorities to this day.
By honoring Mr. Modi at the AAHOA Meeting, you dishonor the victims of the Gujarat pogrom, and insult the moral dignity of all Indians and world citizens. Your decision to invite Mr. Modi brings shame to the Indian-American community, which takes pride in upholding secular principles. Apart from the fact that your decision to invite Mr. Modi is morally repugnant, it is also economically unwise as it will negatively influence the patronage of AAHOA member hotels by a vast majority of peace loving (Indian and non-Indian alike) residents of the US.
Please rescind your invitation to Mr. Modi so as to repair the damage done by your association. If the invitation is not rescinded, I am aware that several minority groups launch a public campaign on this issue. As I said earlier, you will damage your reputation and that of all Indians by doing so. This man should be an invited guest only in one place - a Hitler fan club.
Beheruz N. Sethna