US panel still against granting visa to Gujarat CM Narendar Modi

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Washington, July 14 : In the wake of a fresh invitation to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from the Gujarati-Americans, to attend a culture conference in New Jersey, a US government advisory body has reportedly urged the State Department not to reverse its earlier decision to deny a tourist visa to Modi for allegedly "abetting human rights violations" during the 2002 Godhra riots.

Chairman of the US' Commission on International Religious Freedom, Felice D Gaer said that still no changes were witnessed in Modi's demeanour that would bring about a change in the US' earlier policy regarding granting visa to him.

"The US' Commission on International Religious Freedom again urges the State Department to announce Modi's ineligibility for a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). We have not seen changes that would warrant a policy reversal," The News quoted Gaer as saying.

This would be second occasion when the US would deny visa to Modi. Earlier, he was denied the visa in 2005 to attend the same conference for the same reason.

Around 2000 people, most of whom were Muslims, were killed in the Godhra riots, worst ever communal riots in Indian history. The riots spread across the state after some Muslim fundamentalists allegedly burnt alive 59 Hindus on board a train at the Godhra railway station.

Meanwhile, the senior BJP leader has said that he would not apply for visa until he was assured that his application would not be turned down by US authorities.

ANI

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