Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Wharton And All

The Modi talk is cancelled, but Indian Americans still debate a polarising figure

Wharton And All Tribhuvan Tiwari

Narendra Modi’s three successive victories in Gujarat, his ability to project himself as the BJP’s possible prime ministerial face, the EU move to lift its 10-year-old boycott of him...there are signs of a growing ‘destigmatisation’ of Modi and a willingness to do business with him. But as the row over his Wharton video lecture shows, an influential section in the United States is still not impressed. If nothing else, the controversy showed that even a decade after the Gujarat riots, many in the US are unwilling to forget his anti-Muslim image.

Some US lawmakers and international rights organisations point out that the accusations about the Modi governm­ent’s complicity in the ’02 riots haven’t been adequately investigated. “It’s been 10 years but the very credible all­e­gations of the Gujarat state machinery’s culpability in the riots haven’t been seriously investigated,” says T. Kumar, director of international advocacy at Amnesty Int­e­rnational USA. US officials say the Obama administration has no int­ention of revoking a visa ban imposed on Modi by the Bush adm­i­n­istration in ’05. Last Nov­e­mber, 25 Cong­r­essmen—Demo­crats as well as Repu­b­li­cans—wrote to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton urging her to keep the ban in place.

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