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US still against giving Modi a visa

world Updated: Aug 31, 2008 00:11 IST
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Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, for whom the United States refused a visa in 2005 that had created a controversy in India, continues to be on the administration’s negative list and may not be given entry permit again, if he applied.

“The Department of State is extremely sensitive to your concerns and we are cognisant of the human rights abuses Modi has committed,” Mathew Reynolds, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, has said in a letter to an activist group.

“We have thoroughly searched Department records and located no current non-immigrant visa applications for Modi. However, should we receive an application, we assure you it will be adjudicated in strict accordance with the Immigration and Naturalisation Act,” the official said.

His reply has been circulated by the CAG, a diverse spectrum of groups and individuals in the US and Canada that have come together in response to the Gujarat 2002 riots to demand justice.

In 2005, the US State Department had rejected his application for a visa when he wanted to visit America for attending a conference of non-resident Gujaratis. The decision then had triggered a controversy with the BJP strongly criticising the action.

The current campaign against Modi gained ground against the backdrop of reports that the chief minister was planning to visit the US for attending a three-day World Gujarati Conference. However, the Gujarat government said Modi had neither applied for the US, nor did he plan to go there.

Commenting on the letter, Hyder Khan of the CAG said, “The current response from the State Department has virtually made Narendra Modi a persona non grant to the US.”

It has pointed out that 32 lawmakers have so far written letters to the State Department expressing concern over human rights abuses in Gujarat, seeking denial of US visa to Modi, the CAG said.