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US today firmly rejected an Indian government
request to reconsider revoking Modi's visa

The US today firmly rejected an Indian government request to reconsider revoking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's visa to visit the country.

The statement of the US Ambassador to India, David Mulford, was quite emphatic.

He said there was no question of Washington changing its decision to deny Narendra Modi a visa to the United States.

Letter of protest

The move came despite a strong letter of protest from the Indian government and an appeal by Prime Minister Manomhan Singh to have the decision reviewed.

"This decision applies to Mr. Narendra Modi only. It is based on the fact that, as head of the State government in Gujarat between February 2002 and May 2002, he was responsible for the performance of state institutions at that time," said Mulford in his statement.

"The State Department's detailed views on this matter are included in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Report. Both reports document the violence in Gujarat from February 2002 to May 2002," he added.

'Unfair decision'

Despite New Delhi's options being limited, the Ministry of External Affairs maintained that Washington's decision was unfair.

"This disregards the fact of the constitutional position of the Chief Minister of Gujarat as a democratically elected leader and appears to be based on selective judgment," said Navtej Sarna, Spokesperson, MEA.

"While it is the sovereign right of a country to grant or deny visas, the government does not find this decision by the United States in keeping with the objectives that India and US share as democratic countries," he added.

BJP upset

The United States had also been at pains to point out the decision is not directed at the BJP, though the party was in no mood to listen.

"Narendra Modi is not a criminal. There aren't sufficient grounds to do something like this," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP leader.

BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the decision did not apply only to Modi, but to the entire country. PTI

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