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US says denial of visa to Modi based on NHRC's findings

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March 19, 2005 11:10 IST

Throwing the ball in India's court, the US has said its decision to deny visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was based on the findings of the National Human Rights Commission that his state administration "failed" to control "persistent violations of rights".

"It's a matter of the United States responding to a finding by the Indian National Human Rights Commission
pointing to comprehensive failure on the part of the state government of Gujarat to control persistent violations of rights," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters in Washington.

Also see: It's an issue of swabhimaan: Modi

"The fact of the matter is that it was the Indians who investigated the riots and it was the Indian government who determined that state institutions failed to act in a way that would prevent violence and would prevent religious persecution," he said.

Reacting strongly to "uncalled for" decision to deny diplomatic visa to and revoke tourist/business visa of Modi, a constitutionally elected chief minister, India on Friday asked the US to review its decision urgently.

Modi was earlier scheduled to leave on a five-day visit to the US on Saturday to attend an event organised by the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association.

Also see: 'Indian Americans would feel humiliated'

Ereli said US officials made two determinations based on the NHRC's findings. "Number one, we determined that (on) an application for a diplomatic visa to come to the United States, the terms for issuing that visa under US law had not been met, and so we decided not to issue the visa, based on US law and based on findings of fact by the Indian National [Human Rights] Commission.

"And number two, we determined that an existing visa that Mr Modi had -- an existing tourist/ business visa -- should be revoked under Section 212(a)(2)(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says that any foreign government official who is responsible for or directly carried out at any time particularly severe violations of religious freedom should not be eligible for a visa."

Also see: Decision taken at the highest levels -- US

When asked why the existing visa, which was cancelled, was given in the first place, Ereli said it was granted to Modi "before the events of 2002 (Gujarat riots); that is my understanding."

T V Parasuram in Washington
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