The United States State Department has confirmed in a letter to Congresswoman Betty McCollum that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will not be granted a visa to attend the World Gujarati Conference that is being held in New Jersey this weekend, the Coalition Against Genocide has said.
On July 8, the Democratic lawmaker petitioned the State Department against issuing a visa for Modi and a reply to this was sent by Mathew Reynolds, the Assistant secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.
"The Department of State is extremely sensitive to your concerns and we are cognisant of the human rights abuses Modi has committed," Reynolds has said in his reply that has been circulated by the CAG, a diverse spectrum of groups and individuals in the US and Canada that have come together in response to the Gujarat 2002 riots, to demand justice.
"We have thoroughly searched department records and located no current non-immigrant visa applications for Modi. However, should we receive an application, we assure you it will be adjudicated in strict accordance with the Immigration and Naturalisation Act," the official said.
Commenting on the letter, Hyder Khan of the CAG said, "The current response from the State Department has virtually made Narendra Modi a persona non grata to the US."
It has been pointed out that about 32 lawmakers have so far written letters to the State Department expressing concern over human rights abuses in Gujarat and urging the denial of US visa to Modi, the CAG said in a media release.
"By persistently inviting the most notorious human rights abuser in India and propping Narendra Modi as their icon and hero, the organisers of the World Gujarati conference have brought shame to the Indian American community and have tarnished the name of India," said Hari Sharma.
In 2005, the US State Department had rejected Modi's application for a visa when he wanted to visit America to attend a conference of non-resident Gujaratis. The decision then had triggered a controversy with the Bharatiya Janata Party strongly criticising the action.
The current campaign against Modi gained ground against the backdrop of reports that the chief minister was planning to visit the US for attending a three-day World Gujarati
However, the Gujarat government said he has not applied for an US visa nor did he plan to do so.