Narendra Modi To Remain Persona Non-Grata With No Change To Visa Status
Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has thanked Dr. Najid Hussain (son-in-law of slain Indian Parliamentarian Ahsan Jafri) and Dr. Angana Chatterji for their Congressional testimonies at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission today. The Commission held a hearing on Wednesday (March 21, 2012) on the plight of religious minorities in South Asia, at which Dr. Najid Hussain represented IAMC, in response to an invitation by Commission Co-Chair Congressman Frank Wolf.
Congressman Joseph Pitts’s pointed questions about Modi’s visa status made it clear that Modi remains a persona non-grata in the US. In 2005, the US State Department had revoked Narendra Modi’s US visa under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, for egregious violations of religious freedom.
“The testimonies of both Dr. Hussain and Dr. Chatterji gave the Commission a starkly different picture of Gujarat than the one painted by the recent TIME Asia cover story and a Brookings Institution blog article,” said Mr. Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC. Both stories were largely seen as promotional articles aimed at rehabilitating the tainted Narendra Modi for higher office even as the judicial process is tightening around him.
Dr. Hussain noted with regret that despite the killing of over 2,000 Muslims during the carnage, glaringly low number of arrests have been made to date with even fewer convictions. “An inclusive India would also be a stronger India, that could provide power for our mutual progress, economic development, and growth,” Dr. Hussain said in his testimony. “That goal cannot be realized without ensuring justice to the minorities of Gujarat,” the testimony added.
Dr. Hussain urged the Commission to deny any recognition to Mr. Modi and to use the United States’ influence and friendship with India to ensure freedom, justice and security for the minorities in Gujarat as well as other Indian states. Dr. Hussain also deplored the continued suffering of more than 16,000 people still living in squalid refugee camps. Most people displaced during the pogrom have to date not been allowed to return to their homes as the state government has turned a blind eye to their boycott and ghettoization.
Dr. Angana Chatterji testified before the Commission on similar targeting of Christians by right wing Hindu extremists organizations. Violence against Christians resulted in the murder, rape and massive displacement of thousands of people in the state of Orissa.
Dr. Chatterji’s testimony covered the vast number of disappearances in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the unearthing of unmarked mass graves based on her report. This highlighted the impunity enjoyed by the Army despite gross violations of human rights. She also referred to the denial of independent religious identity to Sikhs.
Dr. Chatterji further called attention to the various Indian diaspora charitable organizations affiliated with the Hindutva ideology operating in the West and their efforts at influencing public discourse and policy in the United States in relation to India.
IAMC has also noted with regret the rising discrimination and violence against religious and disadvantaged minorities. “The harassment of minorities and the lack of due process in the arrest of Muslim youth after every terror attack have eroded the people’s confidence in the impartiality of the nation’s law enforcement agencies.” said Mr. Shaheen Khateeb. Several terror attacks for which Muslim youth were arrested were later found to be the handiwork of right wing Hindu extremists, In addition to extrajudicial killings and the denial of constitutional rights to large sections of the Muslim population, their increasing marginalization in education, essential services and employment have reached alarming proportions.
IAMC hopes the awareness created by the testimonies of Dr. Najid Hussain and Dr. Angana Chatterji will lead to concrete steps by the Government of India to redress the grievous injustices committed against minorities in Gujarat and other parts of India.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation.
For more information please visit our new website at www.iamc.com.