India does not think Narendra Modi is a criminal, and hence he was eligible to contest the elections and become Chief Minister. But the fact that India is a democracy and has a judicial system does not really matter to United States. But in fact just last week, Condi Rice saw democracy in Pakistan.
If you look at this episode, hypocrisy is abound. Naredra Modi played the fiddle while Gujarat burned. He had the responsibility to protect both the Hindus and Muslims who were murdered in the riots and he failed. But then who could raise their voice in India? The Congress Party sat idle while Sikhs were murdered after Indira Gandhi’s assasination. The Communists in various avatars as Naxalites, Maoists etc. murder people. But then does United States refuse visa to such people? No.
And then who gave United States the right to judge other countries? If they had standards like these no Chinese leader would be able to set foot here. How about Ariel Sharon or Yasser Arafat or Musharraf? Does United States refuse visa to such people? No.
So this is not about some high moral ground that United States is taking here. Someone exerted sufficient pressure to get this visa cancelled. This was a high profile game and some who selectively protest won. Will this means that criminals like Modi, from India and other countries be denied a US Visa in future. I don’t think so.
But as The Acorn points out, India’s issues are now globalized. For Kashmiri Pandits, this is an important lesson.
Update: The Indian Prime Minister’s statement
“Our government has clearly pointed out our very deep concern and regret over the US decision to deny a visa to a constitutionally elected chief minister of a state of our union. We have observed that this uncalled for decision be traced to a lack of sensitivity and due courtesy to an elected authority.
“The US government has been clearly told of our concern at this development. We have also called for the urgent reconsideration of this decision by the US government. Mr. Chairman, Sir, the American Government has also been clearly informed that while we respect their sovereign right to grant or refuse visas to any person, we do not believe that it is appropriate to use allegations or anything less than due legal process to make a subjective judgement to question a constitutional authority in India. [Text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement in Rajya Sabha]
Update: Few days back we blogged on the Indian flexibility while dealing with Musharraf. Even though he was responsible for the death of many Indians we treat him with respect. Ashish too points out the same and mentions that we should set our own house in order first.
Update: The denial of the visa was based on a report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). But now they have come out with the statement that they never indicted Modi or his Govt.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), whose findings the US claimed formed the basis for denying visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, today shot back at Washington, saying the Bush administration had blown its observations over the 2002 riots out of proportion.
”Our approach was mainly limited to the Best Bakery case…
there was no indictment in general of Mr Modi or his government,” a top NHRC official told UNI.
He was reacting to the US remarks that it revoked Mr Modi’s visa in response to ”a finding by the Indian National Human Rights Commission pointing to comprehensive failure on the part of the state government of Gujarat to control persistent violations of rights”.
The NHRC official, who requested not to be named, said the Commission did make ”certain observations” about failure of criminal justice in riot-ravaged Gujarat, but ”not to the extent they appear to have been projected by Washington”. [NHRC says US exaggerated its Gujarat observations]