Yesterday the US rejected the application of the chief minister of an Indian state for a diplomatic visa. The reason given was that the purpose was not compatible with the type of visa requested. This is true, he was planning to meet with some businessmen and/or hotel owners. But, they also cancelled his normal visa.
The reason for the second action was because of his involvement in protecting some people involved in religious intolerance. It’s a long story which I will try to condense. A couple of years ago now, a train with some Hindus who had been to a temple festival was travelling through a Muslim area. The pilgrims made a lot of noise and were generally obnoxious. Some Muslims set the train car on fire and some 60 people died. Then, some Hindus decided to retaliate and set Muslim houses and shops on fire, killed and raped and destroyed whoever and whatever they could.
As if this was not enough, the Hindus who committed these crimes were protected by the state government. Witnesses were intimadated. The Supreme Court of India intervened and required the state government to do a better job in trying the accused. The case is still ongoing. I do not know if any Muslims were arrested for the first incident or even if the persons responsible were killed by the Hindu crowd in the ensuing violence.
The political party that this chief minister belongs to is a Hindu party, which was in power in the central government at the time. It has since lost power, probably due in no small part to these events.
The party in power may be happy that the US has refused to permit entry to this man, but will almost surely not admit it. This will be played as the US insulting India, within days of the Secretary of State being here.
A rather amusing aside is that this man thinks he and George Bush are on the same wavelength as defenders of the faith. There are comments to be made about this, but I shall refrain.
I just received an email from the consulate that warns me to be careful for reactions to the US denial of entry.