SAHMAT Statement on denial of visa to Narender Modi on 23 March 2005

While Mr.Narendra Modi’s infamous role in the pogrom against Muslims that occurred in Gujarat has been highlighted by the National Human Rights Commission, and the total callousness of his administration, both during the grisly events and, subsequently, in bringing the culprits to book, has been commented upon by the Supreme Court, one can hardly derive any satisfaction from the denial of a visa to Mr.Modi by the U.S. government. The U.S is not only the worst violator of human rights around the world, but is known to play the “human rights” card selectively, systematically, and duplicitously, to further its imperialist interests. Indeed Mr.Modi himself was a beneficiary of this duplicity when the U.S., unlike certain European countries, made not the slightest noise against the Gujarat  pogrom at the time it occurred. It is also significant that in almost every case where the U.S. has intervened ostensibly in defence of the human rights of particular ethnic or religious groups in other countries, it has ended up exacerbating the fissures in those societies.


There is no gainsaying of course that the granting of a U.S. visa is the sole prerogative of the U.S. administration; but the fact that it turned down a request of the Indian government cannot be a matter of unconcern, let alone satisfaction, for any of us, no matter what our views are about whether the Indian government should have made the request at all.

The only way of escaping the clutches of the “human rights imperialism” of the U.S., however, is to put our own house in order, by ensuring not only that such pogroms never occur again but also that the perpetrators of such pogroms are brought to speedy justice and receive appropriate punishment. The UPA government which has been punctilious in advancing Mr.Modi’s case for a visa on the grounds of his being a State official, should also now take the steps, which it should have taken earlier, to ensure that the Indian State is rid of the Narendra Modis, now and forever.