Even as BJP president Rajnath Singh is lobbying here with the US for a visa for Narendra Modi,65 Indian MPs have written letters to President Barack Obama,urging the US administration to maintain its current policy of denying visa to him.
We wish to respectfully urge you to maintain the current policy of denying Mr Modi a visa to the United States, the MPs belonging to 12 parties have said in identical letters to Obama.
One letter was signed by 25 Rajya Sabha members and the other by 40 Lok Sabha members written on November 26 and December 5,2102 respectively,and re-faxed to the White House on Sunday.
Copies of the letters were provided by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) as Rajnath Singh reached Washington to meet US lawmakers,think-tanks and US government officials during which he said he would urge the Americans to lift the ban on visa for Modi.
Mohammed Adeeb,Independent MP from the Rajya Sabha who took the initiative for this campaign,said they sent these letters to Obama again because of the current campaign and initiative being taken by Rajnath Singh for getting a US visa for Modi. The letters were being made public only now,he added.
Singh told a press conference in New York on Sunday he would appeal to the US lawmakers to impress on the administration to remove the visa ban on Modi imposed after the 2002 post-Godhra riots. The denial came on grounds of human rights violations in Gujarat with Modi as chief minister.
The signatories to the letters include Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) and M P Achuthan of CPI,both Rajya Sabha members.
When contacted,Yechury expressed surprise saying he had not signed any such letter. It appeared to be a cut-and-paste job,he said.
I would be the last person to write to the US administration and to do something like this. We dont want anyone to interfere in the internal affairs of the country. These are issues which will have to be settled in India politically, Yechury said. Achuthan also denied writing such a letter.
However,Adeeb insisted that Yechury and Achthan had signed the letter and was surprised why they were retracting now. Given that legal cases against the culprits including many senior officials in Mr Modis administration are still pending in the court of law,any revoking of the ban at this juncture would be seen as a dismissal of the issues concerning Mr Modis role in the horrific massacres of 2002, the letter to Obama said.
It would legitimise Mr Modis human rights violations and seriously impact the nature of US-India relations by sending a message that the United States values economic interests over and above the universal values of human rights and justice, said the letter.
The signatories also include Sabir Ali and Ali Anwar Ansari (Janata Dal-U),Rasheed Masood (Congress),S Ahmed (Trinamool Congress),Asaduddin Owaisi (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen),Thirumavalavan (Viduthalai Chiruttaigal Katchi),K P Ramalingam (DMK) and S S Rasmasubbu (Congress).
The MPs alleged that Modi had not only obstructed the course of justice but also failed to provide rehabilitation to the survivors of whom 16,000 continue to live in refugee colonies lacking basic amenities.