01 March, 2021

Selective Morality

US business may eye Gujarat covetously, but the stigma stays

Mohd. Jaffer/Snaps India
Selective Morality

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi holds a dubious distinction, which is barely remembered now in the clamour around his supposed projection as a candidate for the post of prime minister in 2014. It was against Modi that the US administration, under then president George W. Bush, invoked for the first time a provision of the International Religious Freedom Act, 1998, that bars admission into the country of any person who as a foreign government official was “responsible for or directly carried out...particularly severe violations of religious freedom”. Modi was conseqently denied a visa in 2005; no other person has been felled by this provision since then.

Washington’s decision was in part precipitated by a letter in which nearly two dozen lawmakers urged then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to deny Modi a visa, citing “numerous reports” of his involvement in “horrific human rights violations in India” to justify the demand. The lead writer of the letter was Joseph Pitts, a Republican...

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