Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Monday, March 21, 2005

'A Point Of Principle'

The American government has been clearly informed that while we respect their sovereign right to grant or refuse visas to any person, we do not believe that it is appropriate to use allegations or anything less than due process to make a subjective judgment to question a constitutional authority in India.
MANMOHAN SINGH

Text of the Prime Minister's statement in the Rajya Sabha on the US denial of visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister.

I share the concern that has been expressed in this matter on all sides of the House. When I came to know of the denial of visa to Shri Modi, yesterday, I immediately instructed our external affairs minister to call the US ambassador and explain to them that we are greatly concerned and we greatly regret the decision that has been taken by the United States government.

The government has taken note of developments arising from the decision of the government of the United States of America to deny the request of the Chief Minister of Gujarat , Shri Narendra Modi, for a government visa. The government is also greatly concerned by the further decision of the United States to revoke other categories of visas already issued to Shri Modi.

Hon. Members of this August house would be aware of the fact that our foreign secretary , yesterday summoned the deputy chief of the U.S. mission in New Delhi to convey strong demarche on the decision of the U.S. government . Our government has clearly pointed out our very deep concern and regret over the U.S. decision to deny a visa to a constitutionally elected Chief Minister of a state of our union. We have observed that this uncalled for decision betrays a lack of sensitivity and due courtesy to an elected authority.

The U.S. government has been clearly told of our concern at this development. We have also called for the urgent re-consideration of this decision by the United States government. The American government has also been clearly informed that while we respect their sovereign right to grant or refuse visas to any person, we do not believe that it is appropriate to use allegations or anything less than due process to make a subjective judgment to question a constitutional authority in India.

We agree that this is not a matter of partisan politics, but rather a matter of concern over a point of principle. I think , the government’s prompt and firm response clearly shows our principled stand in this matter.

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