Flowers for the Butcher of Gujarat while UK Families still await bodies of their loved ones

A Family Perspective

Many of you will be familiar with my work with the Stephen Lawrence Justice Campaign. I also wish to open your eyes as for the past 10 years I have been working closely with the Dawood family who’s loved ones were murdered whilst on a sightseeing holiday in Gujarat. During their holiday, the four tourists were set upon by mobs mirroring events that took place across Gujarat, which the US Based Charity Human Rights Watch concluded thus:-

“What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack on Muslims. The attacks were planned in advance and organised with extensive participation of the police and state government officials.”

For 10 years, this British family have been campaigning for justice in the hope that justice will bring them ‘closure’ and act as a deterrent for those wishing to engage in future atrocities. As their punishment, the Gujarat authorities actively stopped the repatriation of their loved ones remains thus denying them even this basic humanity. This fact alone should give you an insight into the deep sense of shock within our communities at the public courtship now taking place with Narendra Modi.

International Isolation

As a direct consequence of Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 pogrom, the Indian Supreme Court described Modi as a ‘modern day Nero’. Indeed, the EU and US have maintained their ban with the US Government refusing Modi a visa thus:-

“We can confirm that Chief Minister of Gujarat state Narendra Modi applied for, but was denied the diplomatic visa under section 212 (a) (2) (g) of the Act which makes any government official who was responsible for or directly carried out at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, ineligible for visa”

Modi is open about his far right extremist ideology and it is open knowledge that for Modi to be a future Indian PM  he desperately requires a new international image. With Gujarat’s economy doing well, the UK Government decided to break ranks with our allies and openly sought to ‘rehabilitate, endorse and whitewash’ Narendra Modi’s Image. This is despite the fact that there are still cases ongoing against Modi and only recently; M Kodnani, a Senior Modi Minister was jailed for 28 years for mass murder and described by the Judge as a ‘Kingpin’ in incidents wherein the climax of these inhuman and brutal acts of violence was reflected in the murder of an infant, who was 20 days old.

Human rights campaigners do support trade and co-operation with Gujarat but the current strategy of seeking to increase trade by helping with Modi’s international image is a form of ‘political bribery’ and a wholly unacceptable strategy which tarnishes our own International image and contradicts the aspirations for good inter-community relations here in the UK.

Modi to visit the UK

There are extensive plans for a UK visit by Narendra Modi despite his polarising effect on sensitive community relations. The UK is home to communities from across the Indian Sub-Continent and with Narendra Modi implicated in thousands of Muslims being raped and murdered and his stance on destroying Pakistan his presence in the UK would be deeply divisive.

Public Protests

We humbly request people from all communities to organise meetings, write to their MPs and to the Prime Minister to stop this vulgar strategy of trying to whitewash the image of Modi and reaffirm the UK position to maintain Modi’s international isolation and curtail Narendra Modis long term fundamentalist aspirations: W here does your MP stand on this???

SURESH GROVER: Director, The Monitoring Group: http://www.tmg-uk.org/ sgrover@tmg-uk.org

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