Washington: A US
federal advisory body has reiterated its concerns about Gujarat
Chief Minister Narendra Modi's admissibility to the US due to his
alleged "complicity in the 2002 riots" in the state.
Modi, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
Tuesday noted, was the only individual in whose case a provision
of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) was invoked in
March 2005 to bar his entry. IRFA bars the entry of such
individuals "responsible for or directly carried
out...particularly severe violations of religious freedom."
USCIRF said it wrote to the then Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton in 2012 about the possibility that Modi might apply for a
visa, to reiterate its concerns about his admissibility to the
In its 2013 annual report, the federal advisory body that monitors
religious freedom abuses abroad, said USCIRF continues to urge the
Departments of State and Homeland Security to develop a lookout
list of aliens who are inadmissible to the US States on this
The report places India and seven other nations on its "Tier 2
List" where "governments engage in or tolerate are particularly
severe, and meet at least one criterion, but not all, of IRFA's
three-fold "systematic, ongoing, egregious" standard.
Other nations on the Tier 2 category which replaces the Watch List
designation USCIRF previously used are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan,
Cuba, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos and Russia.
"There has been no large-scale communal violence against religious
minorities in India since 2008, and in recent years the Indian
government has created special investigative and judicial
structures in an effort to address previous such attacks," the
"Nevertheless, in the past year, progress in achieving justice
through these structures for the victims of past incidents
continued to be slow and ineffective," it said.
"In addition, members of religious minority communities, including
Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Jehovah's Witnesses, reported an
increase during the reporting period of intimidation, harassment,
and violence, particularly in states with anti-conversion laws,"
the report said.
"Justice for past incidents of sectarian violence targeting
Muslim, Christians and Sikhs has not been achieved fully," USRIF
said. "In addition, rape has become a common feature of communal
The report recommended that the Secretary of State re-designate
the following eight nations among the worst offenders as
"countries of particular concern" or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea,
Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.
USCIRF said it finds that seven other countries meet the CPC
threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria,
Pakistan Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)