Washington, Feb 28 (IANS) Denying it had gone soft on Bharatiya Janata
Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his alleged role
in 2002 Gujarat riots, the US says it continues to express concerns
about communal violence across India
previous years, India section of the State Department’s Congressionally
mandated “2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” released
Thursday makes no reference to the Gujarat chief minister by name.
spokesperson Jen Psaki insisted that it did not indicate any softening
of US stand saying, “We’re very clear about our concerns about several
episodes of communal violence across India.
don’t have any new policy or change in policy or new update to report
to you,” or anything “to convey to you on the status of a visa” for
Modi, she said.
was denied a diplomatic US visa and his business/ tourist was revoked
by the State Department in 2005 over his alleged role in the 2002 riots.
Modi has not applied for a US visa since then.
the standard US formulation, Psaki said: “We encourage individuals to
apply, and those proceedings or processes are private by standard. It’s
standard that they’re private.”
“What I’m conveying to you is that we continue to express concerns about communal violence as it exists in India,” she said.
also “cautioned against linking” US ambassador to India Nancy Powell’s
recent meeting with Modi saying, “Obviously, we’re meeting with a broad
range of officials” ahead of India’s May general elections.
obviously a political season happening, but we’ll meet with a range of
officials on the ground, and it’s an indication of nothing more than
that,” she said.
Human Rights report released by Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday
said “The most significant human rights problems” in India “were police
and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture,
and rape; widespread corruption at all levels of government, leading to
denial of justice; and separatist, insurgent, and societal violence.”
human rights problems included disappearances, poor prison conditions
that were frequently life threatening, arbitrary arrest and detention,
and lengthy pretrial detention,” it said
continued to infringe on citizens’ privacy rights,” the report said.
“The law in some states restricts religious conversion, and there were
reports of arrests but no reports of convictions under those laws.”
limits on the freedom of movement continued. Corruption was
widespread,” it said. “Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths,
honour killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women
remained serious problems.”
Gujarat, the report said: “The government made some progress in cases
that seek to hold police and security officials accountable for killings
committed during the Gujarat riots in 2002.”
“Civil society activists continued to express concern about the Gujarat
government’s failure to protect the population or arrest many of those
responsible for communal violence in 2002 that resulted in the killings
of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim, although
there was progress in several court cases.” It said.
Gujarat government appointed the Nanavati-Mehta Commission to
investigate the 2002 violence, the report noted. In December the Gujarat
government granted an extension for the 21st time, extending the
commission to June 30, 2014.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
AND SOLDIERS – Mr.NARENDRA MODI SPEAKS
Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)
Modi: Traders have more risk-taking capacity than soldiers”.
This is verbatim what appeared in the TOP STORIES tape on NDTV 24/7
TV channel at 2055 hrs (8:55PM) on 27 February 2014.
comment of Mr.Narendra Modi as he woos traders in his election
campaign, coming on the heels of the fire accident in INS Sindhuratna
that has claimed the lives of two officers and hospitalization of
seven sailors, is not merely in bad taste, but shows that he is
woefully unaware of what soldiers do. It shows that he holds the
service of soldiers in low esteem. It is well to correct Mr.Modi’s
impression with regard to his statement.
is true that traders may take risks, but these are financial risks,
and the reason
for taking such risks is expected profit or business advancement.
There is nothing wrong with that, but when a trader takes a risk and
wins, he makes personal gain; if he loses, he only loses money. Most
often, the trader risks borrowed money, not his own. But most
importantly, risk-taking by traders is purely voluntary. If he does
not take a risk, he continues to make his business profits.
a soldier takes a risk, he risks his life or limb, and the reason for
taking risk is usually because he is ordered to perform a risky task
in the course of his duties, which directly concern the defence of
India’s sovereignty and integrity. In other words, the soldier takes
risk for the people of his country, including traders and yes,
including Mr.Narendra Modi himself. If a soldier refuses to perform
his duty which often entails personal, bodily risk, he is liable for
severe disciplinary action. Does Mr.Narendra Modi imagine that the
1999 Kargil operations were won by soldiers who took no risk more
than a trader who plays the stock market? Did the two officers killed
in INS Sindhuratna not take more risk than the traders whose votes
Mr.Narendra Modi seeks?
statement of Mr.Narendra Modi can demoralize the rank and file of our
soldiers and young officers, who are the actual risk-takers.
Mr.Narendra Modi needs to publicly apologize to the Indian soldier
for having made that statement, even if made out of ignorance.
Considering Mr.Narendra Modi’s opinion regarding soldiers, one can
only wonder what priority he will give to soldiers and soldiers’
problems if he comes to political power in the general elections.
an admirable act of moral courage, Admiral D.K.Joshi took moral
responsibility for the accidents. Would Mr.Narendra Modi have the
moral courage to apologize for his statement or will he cravenly deny
having made that statement, or claim to have been misquoted, like
politicians are apt to do? Only time will tell. But the world needs
to know what Mr.Narendra Modi thinks of the Indian soldier, whom he
compares unfavourably with traders.
Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)