FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2008
Washington D.C.: The US State Department has confirmed in a letter to Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) that Modi will not be granted a US visa for the upcoming World Gujarati Conference in New Jersey being held on the weekend of August 29-31, 2008. Amidst lobbying efforts by his supporters to get his US visa reinstated, Modi was invited to attend the World Gujarati Conference by its organizers.
Letter from US State Department
Responding to the July 8th letter written by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, Mr. Matthew Reynolds said: “The Department of State is extremely sensitive to your concerns and we are cognizant of the human rights abuses Mr. Modi has committed”. It further stated: “We have thoroughly searched Department records and located no current nonimmigrant visa applications for Mr. Modi. However, should we receive an application, we assure you it will be adjudicated in strict accordance with the Immigration and Naturalization Act, including Section 212(a)(2)(G) which states that ‘any alien who, while serving as a foreign government official, was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, as defined in section 3 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C 6402) is inadmissible’”.
Commenting on the letter, Dr. Hyder Khan of the Coalition Against Genocide said “the current response from the State Department has virtually made Narendra Modi a persona non grata to the US.”
More Congressmen write letters to State Dept
The Coalition Against Genocide campaign had earlier gathered further momentum when Congressmen Mike Honda (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN) joined several other lawmakers in writing their own letters to the State Department.
A total of 32 US Lawmakers have so far written letters to the State Department expressing concern over human rights abuses in Gujarat and urging the denial of US visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his impending visit to New Jersey.
Grassroots campaign generates over 12,000 letters
A concerted grassroots campaign by member organizations of the Coalition Against Genocide generated over 12,000 individual letters to US lawmakers across the United States. These letters were written by members of the Indian Diaspora and mainstream Americans, expressing alarm and concern over Modi’s reported US visit and the continuing persecution of minorities in his state.
US Congress monitoring Narendra Modi
A delegation from Coalition Against Genocide met with offices of several Representatives of the House and Senators and appraised them with Modi’s gory record of aggravated human rights violations of minority citizens in the state of Gujarat. Letters from the constituents were also delivered to the respective senators and congresspersons. The delegation also had detailed meetings with the foreign policy and human rights legislative aides to 11 Senators including Senators Barack Obama (IL), John Kerry (MA), Richard Durbin (IL), Edward Kennedy (MA), Charles Schumer (NY), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Norm Coleman (MN), Benjamin Cardin (MD), Mel Martinez (FL), Bill Nelson (FL), Frank Lautenberg (NJ).
The offices of a number of Senators and Congresspersons have since spoken with the State Department officials and have placed requests for monitoring the visa status of Modi and incidences of human rights abuses in Gujarat.
Appeal to Conveners of World Gujarati Conference
The Coalition Against Genocide appeals to the organizers of the World Gujarati Conference, for which Modi was invited, to abandon the politicians and politics of division and hate as embodied by Narendra Modi and embrace the ideals of Gujarat’s greatest hero, Mahatma Gandhi.
“By persistently inviting the most notorious human rights abuser in India and propping Narendra Modi as their icon and hero, the organizers of the World Gujarati conference have brought shame to the Indian American community and have tarnished the name of India” said Dr. Hari Sharma
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.
Dr. Hari Sharma
Dr. Hyder Khan
Coalition Against Genocide calls for the continuation of the visa ban on Modi
July 1st, 2008
USCIRF Urges Denial of U.S. Visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
July 8th, 2008
Letter from Representative Betty McCollum to the US Department of State
July 8th, 2008
US Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania urges entry ban on Narendra Modi
August 6th, 2008
27 US Lawmakers want Modi’s visa ban extended; Coalition Against Genocide gets support from more congresspersons
August 9th, 2008
Response from the US State Department to Rep. Betty McCollum’s letter (PDF)