The BJP hit back on Tuesday and said that the party doesn't care about what the US thinks of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi after a group of Congressmen urged the US government to continue denying him visa.
"If he needs any visa or blessing it is from people of Gujarat," party leader Balbir Punj was quoted as saying.
A bipartisan group of Congressmen has asked secretary of state Hillary Clinton to continue denying him visa, claiming he has not adequately pursued justice for victims of the 2002 riots.
"As ... justice has yet to be fully realised for the victims of the riots, we ask that you continue to deny Mr Modi a visa," the lawmakers from the US House of Representatives said in a letter to Clinton.
Dated November 29, the letter, which comes ahead of the Gujarat polls on December 13 and 17, was released to the press yesterday by Republican Congressman Joe Pitts and Frank Wolf on the eve of their joint press conference at the Capitol Hill with family members of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
As the Gujarat chief minister "continues to pursue a potential run for higher office, we believe a change in policy to his request for a visa will only embolden Modi and his government's efforts to obstruct further investigations... to bring the perpetrators to justice," the Congressmen said.
India is a thriving democracy, and one that is aspiring to a high standard of leadership and progress, they said.
"It is disturbing that certain parties in India are considering elevating Modi, despite his tie to these attacks. Allowing him to enter the United States will only serve to abdicate his responsibility for the 2002 human rights abuses."
Observing that the Bush Administration "rightly denied" Modi a visa, the lawmakers said as he is currently seeking support for a possible bid for prime ministership, including meetings with leaders of foreign nations, "we expect" that he may again request entry into the US.
"We respectfully request that the US government deny Mr Modi entry due to numerous reports of his involvement in horrific human rights violations in India," they said.
The lawmakers noted the State Department has stated that the Gujarat government has not adequately pursued justice for the victims of the 2002 violence.
(With PTI inputs)