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'United States Responded To Findings By the Indian NHRC'

Relevant extracts from the daily press briefing by the deputy spokesman of the US State Department, Washington, DC on March 18, 2005

INTERVIEWS | 19 March 2005
'United States Responded To Findings By the Indian NHRC'

Question: Adam, with respect to Mr. Modi, you've denied him a visa and you say that he's taken -- behind the riots in Gujarat back in 2002, why specifically have you denied a visa to the States and have you investigated fully?

Adam Ereli: Well, let me correct something that I think is inaccurate in your question when you said that we have determined that he was behind the riots in Gujarat in 2002. The fact of the matter is that it was the Indians who investigated the riots and it was the Indian Government who determined that state institutions failed to act in a way that would prevent violence and would prevent religious persecution.

So this isn't a matter of the United States saying something happened or something didn't happen. It's a matter of the United States responding to a finding by the Indian National Human Rights Commission pointing to comprehensive failure on the part of the state government of Gujarat to control persistent violations of rights.

On the basis of those facts, we determined a couple things. Number one, we determined that an application for a diplomatic visa to come to the United States that the terms for issuing that visa under U.S. law had not been met, and so we decided not to issue the visa, based on U.S. law and based on findings of fact by the Indian National Commission; that's number one.

And number two, we determined that an existing visa that Mr. Modi had -- an existing tourist business visa -- should be revoked under Section 212(a)(2)(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says that any foreign government official who is responsible for or directly carried out at any time particularly severe violations of religious freedom should not be eligible for a visa. So that's the background to those decisions.

Question: May I follow up?

Adam Ereli: Wait a minute.

Question: Okay.

Adam Ereli: I have to check on that for you. Yeah, sure.

Question: (Inaudible).

Adam Ereli: When was the decision taken?

Question: Follow up?

Adam Ereli: Hmm-mm.

Question: Why would -- why did you give him a visa in the first place if you had --

Adam Ereli: The visa was given before the events of 2002 is my understanding.

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