Left Out Hypocrisy
If they weren’t so hypocritical, left-wing Indian immigrant groups would have been out protesting the U.S. government’s action instead of abetting it in railroading Narendra Modi.
Modi, invited by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, was barred from entering the country after the U.S. government rejected his application for a diplomatic visa and revoked his still valid 10-year business travel visa.
Modi’s visa was ostensibly rejected under the International Religious Freedom Act, which allows for the exclusion of people responsible for severe religious violations abroad.
The U.S. State Department claimed it had relied upon a report by India’s National Human Rights Commission on Modi’s culpability during riots in Gujarat three years earlier. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim businesses were sacked and an estimated 2,000 Muslims slaughtered in those riots.
In truth, Modi’s visa was scuttled by an assorted alliance of religious, Muslim, Christian and self-styled progressive and leftist Indian organizations in the United States. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, chaired by Preeta Bansal, threw its weight behind the opposition by urging the state department to revoke Modi’s visa, as he was “implicated in grave violations of religious freedom.”
We are no fans of Modi. Indeed his administration and politics of hatred against minorities in India are a blot on Indian democracy. We wish the people of Gujarat had been wiser and had dispensed with Modi at the polls. AAHOA might also have selected a more deserving individual to grace their convention.
Democracy, however, does not always deliver the neatest outcomes. Bush, to our dismay, won reelection too.
But political disputes in India ought to be waged in the marketplace of the Indian democratic process. That is not to say that there is no place for seeking the weight of international public opinion on matters as grave as the pogroms Modi is accused of complicity in.
Modi’s opponents could and should protest his presence at any and every public forum, both in India or abroad. But by urging the U.S. State Department to deploy its arbitrary powers to bar an Indian citizen, indeed the elected chief minister of an Indian state, from visiting this country is unwise, and, for the left, disingenuous.
For decades now, progressives and leftists have railed against U.S. meddling and intervention in the internal affairs of countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
But having failed to secure the desired outcomes through the legal and political process in India, the left has remarkably ingratiated itself with the very agent it has derided for decades to inject itself into Indian domestic politics. Besides, every immigrant is acutely conscious of the whimsical character of visa regimes and their enforcers, not just in the United States, but worldwide. By asking the U.S. government to invoke these frequently abusive arbitrary powers, we provide legitimacy to them.
The U.S. government coddles some of the most ruthless regimes worldwide, including some whose conduct is far more egregious than anything Modi is accused of. Furthermore, the very immigrant groups opposed to Modi have been at the vanguard of the criticism of the Bush administration’s own unconscionable abuses of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay and its frontal assault on the civil liberties of citizens and aliens alike in the so-called war on terror.
Modi was never charged or convicted of any crime and the visa regime granted him no due process to contest the accusations against him. If they weren’t so hypocritical, these Indian immigrant groups would have been out protesting the U.S. government’s action instead of abetting it in railroading Modi.