22 February, 2005
Asian American Hotel Owner Association's (AAHOA) has created a storm
in US by inviting a militant,anti-minority Indian politician to its
annual convention. AAHOA will be honoring Narendra Modi, the Chief executive
of the Indian state of Gujarat who is accused of sharing responsibility
in the massacres, sexual mutilations and rapes of Muslims and persecution
of Christians, indigenous tribes and moderate Hindus.
Narendra Modi has been indicted by various Indian and International
human rights organizations for his role in the pogroms directed at the
Muslim community in Gujarat in 2002. He was criticized by the Supreme
Court of India as a modern day Nero for his actions during the 2002
massacres and has two cases lodged against him in the State of Gujarat.
The AAHOAs membership predominantly consists of immigrants from
Modi's home state. Its decision to honor Modi in its convention and
trade fair on March 24 - 26 has been controversial in the organization
itself. AAHOAs decision to invite Modi raises the speculation
that Indian American Professional Organizations are being infiltrated
by sectarian ultra-nationalists and have become conduits for their fundraising
and political support in US.
In response to these disturbing developments, a wide spectrum of organizations
based in US have come together to form a coalition - Coalition Against
Genocide (CAG). The member organizations in CAG have diverse backgrounds
including community-based groups, developmental groups, human rights
groups and academic experts that have been coordinating their efforts
against the spread of religious hatred in India. CAG asserts that its
stand is a just and moral stand and is in the best interest of the US
society, the Indian Diaspora and India.
CAG will adopt a multi pronged strategy to expose and marginalize the
extremists and will work towards safeguarding the pluralist ethos of
India and the economic well being of the Indian Diaspora in US.
The Coalition has demanded that AAHOA rescind its invitation to Narendra
Modi. CAG has brought to attention the fact that Modi's party has been
glorifying Hitler and his genocidal policies in the state run schools.
Modi is in close alliance with and promotes the extreme right-wing Hindutva
movement that is supremacist and anti-minority and whose members were
responsible for the assassination of Gandhi. This movement was formed
on the model of Mussolini's Fascist party in the 1920s and has been
glorifying Hitler since the 1930s.
CAG is hopeful that AAHOA members will take these facts into account
and force its Board to rescind the invitation given to Mr. Modi.
Copy of CAG's letter
To: The President and Board
Asian American Hotel Owners Association
66 Lenox Pointe N.E, Atlanta Georgia 30324.
February 19, 2005
We represent a coalition
of national and local organizations in the U.S. and are writing to express
our moral outrage at your invitation to Narendra Modi to speak at your
convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on March 24-26, 2005.
As you must know, Mr.Modi has been indicted by all reputable Indian
and International human rights organizations for his role in the ethnic
cleansing and pogroms against the Muslim community in Gujarat, India
in 2002, in addition to having two cases lodged against him in the state
In the state-sponsored pogrom in Gujarat, thousands of people were killed
and made refugees, hundreds of women and young girls were brutally raped
and tortured, religious places of worship were defiled and destroyed,
and property loss and damage ran to millions of dollars. These heinous
crimes were not only committed under Gujarat Chief Minister Modi's watch,
but also condoned by him. The Supreme Court of India has rebuked the
State Government of Gujarat for its faulty and discriminatory handling
of more than 2000 cases that were never even properly investigated let
alone tried. The Gujarat State government under Mr. Modi continues to
discriminate against Muslim and Christian minorities to this day.
By honoring Mr. Modi at the AAHOA Meeting, you dishonor the victims
of the Gujarat pogrom, and insult the moral dignity of all Indians and
world citizens. Your decision to invite Mr. Modi brings shame to the
Indian-American community, which takes pride in upholding secular principles.
Apart from the fact that your decision to invite Mr. Modi is morally
repugnant, it is also economically unwise as it will negatively influence
the patronage of AAHOA member hotels by a vast majority of peace loving
(Indian and non-Indian alike) residents of the US.
We are perturbed that a service-based industry such as the hotel industry
would put its reputation and financial well-being on the line by endorsing
a man like Mr. Modi who is being tried for his complicity in crimes
against humanity in India.
We demand that you rescind your invitation to Mr. Modi so as to repair
the damage done by your association. If the invitation is not rescinded
by 5PM Monday, February 21st we will be forced to launch a public campaign
on this issue.
Sincerely, on behalf
of Coalition Against Genocide
Mr. George Abraham
Dr. Angana Chatterji
Ms. Sapna Gupta
Dr. Ashwini Rao
Dr. Shaik Ubaid
Coalition Against Genocide, 8480 Baltimore National Pike #286,Ellicott
City, MD 21043