Panel urges US to keep visa ban on Modi

Panel urges US to keep visa ban on Modi

Panel urges US to keep visa ban on Modi

A panel on Wednesday urged the United States to maintain a ban on a visa to the leader of the Indian state of Gujarat over anti-Muslim riots, even though he is a favourite to run for prime minister.

In a wide-ranging annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said that Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be “inadmissible to the United States” due to “severe violations of religious freedom.” “There is significant evidence linking him to the violence and the terrible events that took place in Gujarat and for this reason, a visa would not be appropriate,” Katrina Lantos Swett, chair of the Commission, told reporters .

Modi led the western state in 2002 when religious riots broke out that left 2,000 dead, most of them Muslims. One of his former ministers was jailed for life for instigating the killings but several investigations cleared Modi of personal responsibility.

With Gujarat’s economy booming, Modi has tried to rebrand himself as a pro-business reformist and is considered a frontrunner to lead the Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in next year’s national elections.

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