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Modi may face protests during UK visit

By H S Rao in London
March 20, 2005 16:35 IST
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Close on the heels of the US denying visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit that country, two United Kingdom-based voluntary organisations are planning protest demonstrations during his proposed visit to London next Saturday.

This was announced at a public meeting organised on Saturday night by the AWAAZ and South Asia Watch.

Modi is scheduled to participate in the 'Vibrant Gujarat' celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall.

Welcoming the US decision to deny visa to Modi and revoke his tourist/business visa, Suresh Grover of AWAAZ said, "We need to create necessary momentum to keep up the international pressure ...when he comes here on Friday."

Indira Jaising, eminent human rights lawyer and senior advocate of the Supreme Court, was the chief guest at the meeting.

Jaising, also chairperson of the Lawyers Collective (India) and director of the Women's Rights Initiative, New Delhi, alleged that the Gujarat riots in February 2002 were 'pre-meditated'.

Angelika Pathak, researcher at Amnesty International's South Asia Team, said Amnesty had recommended to the Gujarat government to investigate promptly, thoroughly and impartially all reports of alleged police connivance or participation in acts of sexual violence against women and bring to justice those responsible.

It suggested that the state government should recruit adequate number of women police officers and appoint investigating officers who specialise in cases of sexual violence. They should be provided specialist training, especially in collecting, analysing and preserving medical and other forensic evidence.

Amnesty wanted the Union government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The convention provides for individual petitions and for inquiries into its systematic violations, affording an international remedy for women who have suffered human rights abuses.

Amnesty also urged the Indian government to permit UN human rights mechanisms and international human rights organisations free and regular access to enable them to research alleged human rights issues in the country.

Meanwhile, the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) and the Council of Indian Muslims (UK) have welcomed the US government decision to deny visa to Modi.


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H S Rao in London
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