Washington: Victims of the Gujarat riots will not get any justice if Narendra Modi becomes India's Prime Minister, the wife of a former MP killed by a violent mob in Ahmedabad a decade ago told US lawmakers, urging the Obama administration to continue denying visa to the Chief Minister.
"If he (Modi) succeeds to become the Prime Minister, my hopes for justice, along with the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Gujarat victims will be lost. I hope and pray that never happens," Zakia Jafri, wife of the former MP, Ahsan Jafri, said at the Capitol Hill yesterday.
"Your denial to change his (Modi's) persona non grata status is very vital to keep my hopes alive," Jafri said in her statement which was read out by her son-in-law Najid Hussain, while she was standing by his side.
Speaking on behalf of the Gujarat riot victims, Zakia and her daughter Nishrin Hussain urged both the US lawmakers and the Obama Administration not to grant Modi a US visa. "I know in my heart, Chief Minister Narendra Modi is responsible for the killing of my husband. I know when my husband asked for help he was told, 'Jafri you are on your own. Save yourself if you can'," she said.
"I also know Indian justice system may be slow, but it is robust. Had Chief Minister Modi resigned, or was removed from the office... the wheels of justice would have moved freely and swiftly.
"But instead of leaving the office, he doubled up on his grip on power and has done everything to obstruct and deny justice to the victims like myself," Jafri alleged.
Recounting the tragic hours of the day when her father was killed by the violent mob, Nishrin Hussain, who now is a US citizen, said, "I applaud the initiative of the Congresspersons in ensuring that the ban on Mr Modi's visa continues to stay in place."
"Maintaining the longstanding US policy on Narendra Modi's visa is important for the ongoing struggle for justice in Gujarat," she said. Speaking on behalf of Coalition Against Genocide, Hyder Khan, said the recent conviction of a sitting member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, Mayaben Kodnani and indictment of Gujarat Minister Amit Shah, is actually a damning indictment of the Modi administration.
"Barring a handful of convictions, the hundreds of perpetrators who roamed the streets of Gujarat in February and March of 2002, killing, raping and destroying property continue to evade the law," Khan alleged. Shaik Ubaid, one of the founders of the coalition said, "The revocation of Modi's visa by the US is the biggest impediment in Modi's grandiose plans for himself including becoming the prime minister of India".