Friday, March 18, 2005

Modi denied visa to visit US

Modi denied visa to visit US

I was really surprised at the news. News of Modi visiting the US has been circulating for a while. There were a lot of shrill protests from many people in the US (obviously egged on by a section of people of Indian Origin) but Modi's trip was slated to happen until this event now.

How did this happen ? Somebody powerful must have made the twenty-one US Congressmen write the letter to Condoleezza Rice which caused the revoking of Modi's diplomatic as well business visa.

I should say that I am not happy at this development to say the least. When Indo-US relations are at an all time high, this incident has definitely soured it. My initial reaction - how can a democratically elected leader of a State in a democratic country have his visa revoked? When even Pervez Musharraf, the dictator of Pakistan, has visited the US, why this treatment for Modi?

It should be noted that Modi has been accused of allegedly masterminding the post-Godhra riots. But my point is - even if Modi is known to be guilty - by virtue of his being a democratically elected leader in a friendly country, nay a friendly democracy, he should have been allowed entry. When dozens of tin-pot dictators have taken refuge in the US, how can Modi not be allowed in the US? The US has regularly hosted the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. And that family has not exactly been a paragon of tolerance towards religious minorities. And Israeli PMs are always welcome. How tolerant has Ariel Sharon been towards his Palestinian Muslim brethren?

I agree that the Godhra incident and post-Godhra incidents were horrible. But even more horrible was the Rwandan massacre which was a couple of orders worse than the Godhra incident. How did the US react to that?

This incident actually puts on show the power of Indian-American lobby. Some of them who want to flaunt their secular credentials (which is not that bad) have gone overboard this time - without even realizing that they have caused insult to the Indian Government, the Indian Constitution and the majority of the people of Gujarat who actually voted for Modi during the elections. They have basically insulted the intelligence of the Gujarati people who thought it fit to invite their state's Chief Minister.

These people sitting in their airconditioned chambers have no idea of reality. How many of these Congressmen have ever been to India? I tell them this - If you don't know what reality is, don't make decisions on half-baked news reports. How do I know? I am basing my opinion on the fact that Modi is the Chief Minister of a state more populated than even Texas (50mil vs 22mil). Wouldn't it be an outrage in the US if the Governor of say, Texas, is not allowed into another country (even if cases are pending against him) because the other country thought that he was a bigot ? What do they think of India? It has more than 3-4 times the population of the US. And these misinformed people have the temerity to revoke the visa of an Indian minister.

Modi should worry for his misdeeds but not for his visa getting revoked. It suits him to stay in Gujarat where he still holds power. As for the US, they still need to understand that India is not Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh. India is India, a country which has had a longer history of religious tolerance than a few misinformed people can ever hope to understand.


Venkatesha Murthy said...

What really surprised me was the almost every one (excluding the Left, but they don't merit any consideration in my opinion) seemed equally peeved and said the same thing. It's rare to see an issue the Congress and the BJP are on the same side of.

But, of course, the US decision should be met in kind for any meaning to come out of all the protests. I doubt the current government has the politcal will to do that.


nIlagrIva said...

The current government has no political will to do anything except prevent democratically elected parties from forming a government.

It is good to see all the parties on one side. Sometimes, it needs a crisis to bring bickering parties together. But I don't understand why the US resorted to such an extreme step. Can just a bunch of left-wing loonies get the US to revoke a granted visa ? I suppose it is deeper than that. It has probably something to do with the Christian Right clout with the Bush government.

Narendra Modi said...

We have launched a petition to request President Obama to reconsider US Administration’s stand on Mr. Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, India. Please visit MODI360.COM to review and sign this petition.