British Indian Muslims have asked the UK government not to issue Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi a visa to the UK and have objected to MPs of the Conservative and Labour Parties inviting him to Britain.
Such a step, they said, would “encourage extremism in India and will set a dangerous precedent in British politics”.
“We are not unaware of a powerful BJP lobby, supported by Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP from Brent North, doing PR work for Modi in (the) UK,” the letter to the government said, slamming the MPs and describing their invite as a “wrong message that might is right and economic interests come before principles”.
The Muslim community members also quoted from the leaked report the British high commission had prepared during the 2002 riots and stated in it that the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat “had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing and that reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims is impossible while the chief minister remains in power”.
The report had also described the riots not as a spontaneous reaction as claimed by the Modi administration but were “planned possibly months in advance”.
The letter also refers to incidents of communal clashes in Bihar and Utter Pradesh after Modi’s elevation as chairman of the BJP’s campaign committee for the next parliamentary polls.
The letter has been signed by Munaf Zeema, chairman of the Council of Indian Muslims (UK).
Gujarat BJP leader Jaynarayan Vyas refused to comment on the matter.
Close to 1,200 people, mostly Muslims, had died in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Modi has been chief minister since 2001.