A petition urges President Obama to look into the matter, as the U.S. government’s stand of denying visa to Narendra Modi is based on biased media information and contorted facts.
By Rakesh Raman
An online petition is urging President Barack Obama to invite the Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of an Indian political party BJP to the U.S. by issuing him the visa.
The U.S. administration has denied visa to Modi in view of the allegations of human rights violations against him in the 2002 incidents of riots and carnage that happened in the Indian state Gujarat where Modi has been the Chief Minister.
Addressed directly to Obama, the petition urges him to personally look into the matter, as the U.S. government’s stand of denying visa to Modi is based on biased media information and contorted facts presented by lobbyist groups. It cautions that if the matter is not resolved favorably, it might affect Indo-American relations.
The online document goes on and on, giving a slew of reasons in favor of Modi while explaining that he was not responsible for the Gujarat riots. Plus, it displays endorsements from people and leading publications to support its demand on visa for Modi.
The petition, which claims to have nearly 4,000 supporters from 22 countries, is hosted on an exclusive site titled Modi360.
While the “About Us” and “Contact Us” sections of the site don’t reveal the identity of people behind this initiative, the site vaguely says: “Modi360 presents an objective assessment of Narendra Modi and does not have any political affiliation or allegiance to any political party.”
Modi, 64, is one of the leading contenders for the Prime Minister (PM) post (the highest position in the Indian government) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April / May 2014. And his party BJP is the main opposition party in India to the ruling party Congress.
Although no other political party in India has so far declared its PM candidate, the main fight is expected to be between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Modi.
The said petition holds added significance for Obama administration in view of the higher status for Modi as the PM candidate for the country from his ongoing role as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The U.S.-India relations are likely to be strained if Modi becomes India’s PM after a few months, it’s largely believed.
Last year, BJP president Rajnath Singh visited the U.S. and advocated for a visa to Modi. Subsequently, it was rumored that 65 members of parliament (MPs) in India sent a signed letter to Obama asking him to uphold the U.S. visa restriction against Modi. However, when confronted by BJP, some of these MPs said they never signed any such letter.
Of late, the British government clarified that there is no ban on visa for Modi (pictured above) and he can visit U.K. freely without any restriction.
You can visit the Modi360 website to know more about the petition and other details.
Photo: Screen grab from the above video; Courtesy: Modi360