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Council of Indian Muslims UK decries invitation to Narendra Modi, says will encourage extremism and set dangerous precedent in British politics

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By Danish Ahmad Khan

The Council of Indian Muslims (UK) has recently written an Open letter to British MPs decrying the invitation to Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chef Minister and prime suspect of 2002 pogrom.

Munaf Zeena, Chairman of Council of Indian Muslims (UK), has written the letter under his signature on 14th August 2013 and addressed to William Jefferson Hague MP, Foreign Secretary; Ms Theresa May MP, Home Secretary; Grant Shapps MP and Andrew Feldman MP, Chairmen Conservative Party; and ED Milliband MP, Chairman Labour Party. The letter has also been circulated among all British Members of Parliament.

The open letter has expressed utter disgust at the invitation by Labour and Conservative MPs to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit UK. Modi is considered to be one of the most controversial and polarising Indian politician. The letter said that this move would further encourage extremism in India and set a dangerous precedent in the British politics. The letter said that the invitation "will go down in history as yet another shameful blunder by British politicians— and by the British Government if a visa is issued to Modi — to please and encourage a fascist as was committed by Prime Minister Chamberlain who tried to appease Hitler in 1939".

Munaf thus wrote: "We, the British Indian Muslims, are writing this open letter to you, sirs and Madam, in utter disgust at the invitation by Labour and Conservative MPs to one of the most controversial and polarising Indian politician, the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, to visit UK.

"This move will encourage extremism in India, will set a dangerous precedent in British politics and will go down in history as yet another shameful blunder by British politicians— and by the British Government if a visa is issued to Modi — to please and encourage a fascist as was committed by Prime Minister Chamberlain who tried to appease Hitler in 1939.

"In case this comparison is attributed to our emotionalism and is interpreted as farfetched please allow us to quote from the leaked report of British High Commission in India according to which the pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, “had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing and that reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims is impossible while the chief minister remains in power.” It further said, “far from being spontaneous” this massacre, “was planned, possibly months in advance, carried out by an extremist Hindu organisation with the support of the state government.” (Emphasis added) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1951471.stm )

"This may sound very undiplomatic but the seriousness of the matter impels us to say that through this gesture a very wrong message is being given that might is right and economic interests come before principles.

"We are not unaware of a powerful BJP lobby, supported by Barry Gardiner the Labour MP from Brent North, doing PR work for Modi in UK. In fact in his election campaign Mr Gardiner even shamelessly published a testimonial from Modi on his website claiming, “Gujarat has no greater friend in Britain than Barry Gardiner.”

"Let us ask a blunt question if the attitude of Labour party, Conservative party and of the British Government had been the same if a Muslim MP had acted in such an unashamed fashion and lobbied and supported a figure with the record of allowing and supporting the massacre of minorities in a his country? And through this open letter this is an open question to every conscientious British politician to give a serious thought to.

"Please allow us to quote from the letter of Minister of State Rt. Hon Hugo Swire MP sent to us in response to our communiqué to Foreign Secretary William Hague in which he said, “...our policy is clear that entry shall be refused for immigration purposes or to any individual who may present safety or security risk; where their presence in the United Kingdom would not be conducive to the public good; or if there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that they have committed human rights abuses [emphasis added]...”

"In this context and in the light of the requirement of, “independent, reliable and credible evidence” we request you to refer to the above mentioned leaked report compiled by none other than our own British High Commission in India.

"Since Modi’s appointment as Chairman of BJP’s Campaign Committee for 2014 general elections, inter-communal situation in two northern Indian states, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, has already worsened and there should be no doubt in the mind of anyone about the harm that the visit and presence of such a hate monger will do to race relations in UK.

"We fail to express our utter sense of disappointment and disgust at these overtures by British MPs and earnestly request you to review your policies and restrain these MPs from supporting the Neru and Hitler of our time."

Modi belongs to the principal opposition party in India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and has recently been appointed as Chairman of Election Campaign Committee for 2014 parliamentary elections. Modi widely sees himself as a prime ministerial aspirant and has left his senior party leaders like Lal Krishna Advani, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Ms. Sushma Swaraj and others highly displeased and cut off from the party in the run up to the elections. Modi is bending over backwards and has been trying to woo Western powers in every way possible to allow him visas to visit the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. U.S. government considers Narendra Modi as a violator of human rights and continues to deny him visa for the past several years. Recently, BJP President Rajnath Singh had visited the U.S. seeking visa for Modi, but was rebuffed and had to return empty handed.

Narendra Modi being Chief Minister of Gujarat had presided over the worst ever pogrom orchestrated against Indian Muslims in 2002. The riots saw thousands of Muslims killed, pregnant Muslim woman's womb being cut open and foetus displayed on a sword as a trophy, thousands of Muslims burnt alive, displaced and their properties completely destroyed.

Narendra Modi continues to remain remorseless and refuses to openly apologize to Muslims for the 2002 riots. On several occasions he has tried to enact dramas to court Muslims. On one such occasion during Sadbhavna Mission fast, Modi refused to wear a skull cap given by a 'hired' Muslim albeit as a symbolic gesture, while accepting all kinds of headgears from different people. Modi recently rubbed Muslims the wrong way by expressing sadness over the riots and treating those killed at par with dog's puppy.

[Danish Ahmad Khan, a New Delhi-based Journalist, is Founder-Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at danishkhan@indianmuslimobserver.com]
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