Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, is visiting the United State to deliver the keynote address for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association Conference. Modi is a long-time member of the RSS, a quasi-paramilitary organization that forms the core of the Hindu fascist movement in India, and is in many ways an heir of the Black Hundred and the SA. (Textbooks in Gujarat paint a generally favorable account of Hitler and Nazism, and contain only a one sentence mention of the Holocaust and no mention of political repression and Nazi totalitarianism.)
Under his ministership Gujarat suffered some of the worst communal violence in post-independence India. An estimated 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered over four days in the end of February and beginning of May 2002. A Human Rights Watch report concluded that the government was complicit in the pogrom and members of it were deeply involved in its organization.
“In April 2002, Human Rights Watch released a 75-page report titled “We Have No Orders to Save You”: State Complicity and Participation in Communal Violence in Gujarat. The report, based on investigations conducted in Ahmedabad in March 2002, revealed that the violence against Muslims was planned well in advance of the Godhra massacre [an alleged massacre of Hindu nationalist activists in a train by some Muslims, though the commission set up by the Railway Minister to investigate the fire concluded that it was an accident] and with extensive state participation and support. State officials of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party that also heads India’s national coalition government, were directly involved in the attacks. In many cases, the police led the charge, killing Muslims who tried to block the mobs’ advance. The violence was unprecedented in its organization and unmatched in its brutality in the state of Gujarat. Pregnant women’s bellies were cut open and fetuses were pulled out before the women were killed. When a six-year-old boy asked for water, he was made to drink petrol. According to eyewitnesses, “A lit matchstick was then thrown inside his mouth and the child just blasted apart.”
The groups most responsible for the anti-Muslim violence include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, VHP), the Bajrang Dal (the militant youth wing of the VHP), and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps, RSS). Collectively they form the sangh parivar (or “family” of Hindu nationalist groups). The BJP is the political wing of the sangh parivar.”
Modi belongs to the BJP, which has taken no steps to discipline him.
There is a campaign to protest his visit to the United States.
“Activists in groups such as the Coalition Against Genocide are trying to get the organization to rescind its invitation. They have failed. AAHOA is unrepentant. Another speaker at the convention is [was] Chris Mathews of Hardball, but even he has so far not succumbed to the pressure. The campaign needs help from one and all.
Call Chris Mathews’ assistant, Tina Urbansky (202-737-7901) and let her know what you think. Write to AAHOA’s current president: Fred Schwartz, AAHOA, 66 Lenox Pointe, NE, Atlanta, GA. 30324. If you live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida or thereabouts and want to be involved in the protest against this state terrorist, check out the website www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org.”
(Chris Mathews apparently will not speak at the convention.)
Here, you can find a petition that calls for:
“The Indian government take immediate steps to punish the perpetrators of the pogrom and to rehabilitate the victims.
AIANA and AAHOA rescind their invitation to Mr. Modi and appeal to the co-sponsors of the AAHOA convention to withdraw their support.
The Indian and the US governments work together to curtail the fund-raising and other activities in the US of hate groups such as the one Mr.Modi belongs to.”