In a stinging snub to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the United States on Friday denied him a diplomatic visa and revoked his tourist/business visa.
The US has taken the decision as per a section of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, a spokesman of the US embassy said in New Delhi.
The Act prohibits anybody who was 'responsible for, or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom' from entering the US.
Modi was to pay a five-day visit to the US from March 20.
Some Indian-American groups had threatened to organise protests against his visit and two American Congressmen had planned to introduce a resolution condemning the policies and actions of the state administration in the light of post-Godhra riots that rocked the state in 2002.
"We can confirm that Chief Minister of Gujarat state Narendra Modi applied for, but was denied, the diplomatic visa under section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act because he was not coming for the purpose that qualified for a diplomatic visa," the spokesman said.
During the visit, billed by the organisers as a 'business trip', Modi was scheduled to address the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and a public meeting in New York. He was also scheduled to meet business leaders.
Some groups had formed the 'Tri-State Coalition Against Genocide' to protest against the visit and had planned to hold demonstrations both in Fort Lauderdale and New York during his addresses.
The adjoining New York, New Jersey and Connecticut states are generally referred to as 'tri-state.'
The Association of Indian-Americans of North America, which was organising the public meeting in Madison Square Garden in New York, had dismissed the criticism against Modi, saying the CM's visit had nothing to do with politics. It was strictly a business trip, during which he would showcase India in general and Gujarat in particular, the organisers had said.