Washington: A Congressional resolution urging Gujarat government to restore religious freedom in the state has been introduced in the US House of Representatives on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of communal riots. The non-binding resolution (H Res 569) "recognising the 10th anniversary of the tragic communal violence in Gujarat" was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Keith Ellison, early this week.
Unlike most of such resolutions, it has no co-sponsors. The resolution has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.
Recognising the suffering of the people affected by the 2002 violence in Gujarat, including those who lost their lives in the Godhra train fire, the resolution shares the opinion of the US Department of State that the Gujarat government has not adequately pursued justice for the victims of the 2002 violence.
Expressing concern over reports from journalists and human rights groups about alleged complicity of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 violence; the resolution commends the US Government for denying a visa to Modi in 2005 on the grounds of a religious freedom violation under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), in a statement welcomed the introduction of the Congressional resolution. "Congressman Ellison's resolution is an important effort to memorialise all those who were killed in the horrific sectarian violence of Gujarat in 2002," said Shaheen Khateeb, IAMC president.
"It is an opportunity to renew our pledge to continue the struggle for justice and reparation for the victims and to combat the discrimination and the economic hardships that plague minorities in Gujarat," he added.
In a statement, IAMC urged Indian American community to call upon their local Congressional representatives and urge them to become a co-sponsor of the House Resolution.