Visa policy unchanged, Narendra Modi can apply and wait for review: US

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Dec 27 2013, 17:39pm hrs
Narendra ModiThere has been no change to visa policy on Narendra Modi: US
Asserting that there has been no change in its visa policy on Narendra Modi, the US said the BJP's prime ministerial candidate is welcome to apply for a visa and wait for a review which will be grounded in American law.

"There has been no change to our visa policy. Our longstanding policy with regard to the (Gujarat) Chief Minister is that he is welcome to apply for a visa and await a review like any other applicant," a spokesperson for the Department of State said.

"That review will be grounded in US law. I am not going to speculate about what the outcome might be," the spokesperson said, when asked about the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by India's Supreme Court to look into allegations against Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Modi was denied a diplomatic visa to the US in 2005.

The US also revoked the B-1/B-2 visa issued to him earlier.

This decision of the then Bush Administration was done under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes any foreign government official who was responsible or "directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for the visa.

A metropolitan court in India today rejected the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of a former Congress MP, against the clean chit given to Modi and others by the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

"Zakia Jafri's resolve to take the case to a higher court must be applauded. Declarations of Modi being exonerated are a deliberate attempt to mislead the public about the case's status," Ahsan Khan, president of Indian-American Muslim Council, said.