Washington, Dec 4 (IANS) Ahead of the Gujarat elections, a bipartisan group of 25 lawmakers and the Coalition Against Genocide have called for a continued visa ban for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The group, led by Republican House of Representatives members Joe Pitts and Frank Wolf, is holding a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the House Triangle to make the call along with family members of the victims saying he has not adequately pursued justice for victims of the riots.
The lawmakers have also shot off a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to continue denying Modi a US visa particularly since Modi is now eyeing the office of the prime minister.
"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," they said in the letter released to the press Monday ahead of the Gujarat polls Dec 13 and 17.
As Modi "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," they said in the Nov 29 letter.
Noting that 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," it said.
Observing that the Bush Administration "rightly denied" Modi a visa, the lawmakers said as he is currently seeking support for a possible bid for the office of prime minister they expected 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 riots.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)