US Congressman campaigns to revoke US visa ban on Modi

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Chicago, Sept 12: US Congressman Joe Walsh who has started a campaign to revoke ban on issuing an American visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi recently said that the US could learn from the latter, particularly when the economic prospects were looking bad.

The Republican Congressman said Modi was praised around the world for his stand against corruption and leading the success story of Gujarat through pro-growth and limited government policies. He said Washington should invite the BJP leader instead of denying him a visa.

Walsh, who represents Illinios's 8th district from the Chicago area, has stepped up his campaign to put an end to the seven-year-old ban on Modi by writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He even said that denying a visa to Modi was not in tune with the US law.

Walsh is known for his strong anti-government views and particularly those against President Obama. A favourite politician of the Tea Party Movement, Walsh is also known to have a broad following among the supporters of Modi in Chicago's Indian American community.

The ban was imposed on Modi in 2005 during the days of George W Bush as the President and has been continued by Obama. It was put into effect under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act to foreign government officials on grounds of violations of religious freedom in the wake of the Gujarat riots of 2002 but according to Walsh, the Gujarat CM has never been tried or convicted and hence could not be brought under such law. Besides, he also said that a person could be denied a visa only two years even he is convicted from the time of conviction. In case of Modi, it has been ten years since the Gujarat riots took place.

David S Adams, Assistant Secretary, Legislative Affairs at the State Department countered Walsh by saying the two-year limitation as the latter said was scrapped under a section of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. He, however, said that Modi would be considered under the US law and policy in case he had submitted a new application.

Walsh took a dig at the Obama administration saying the current US President decided to maintain the ban on Modi, which was originally imposed by the Bush administration, for he thought the US President was cautious to not annoy Pakistan.

OneIndia News

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