Shameful Award to
Update 3rd September 2009: "We welcome the decision by FDI Magazine, in response to feedback, to present the award to Gujarat state, rather than Mr Modi himself (as advised in an email from Courtney Fingar, Editor). This is a step in the right direction, but it is important that we continue to voice our concern for truth and justice in this matter. Please make your views known to the appropriate people."
We are deeply concerned at the decision of the Financial Times Group to confer the "FDI Asian Personality of the Year 2009" on Narendra Modi. Given his human rights record and the unresolved issues of communal violence in Gujarat, this is a shameful decision, based on perceptions of commercial gain, with no regard for justice.
The suffering in Gujarat was the focus of the 2002 conference convened in London at the request of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and other faith community leaders. ‘Healing the Wounds: Human Rights and Minorities in India’ sought to build bridges of reconciliation through honest examination and open acknowledgement of what had happened in Gujarat (see http://www.southasian.org.uk/intro_conference.html).
This was followed by a similar conference in New Delhi in January 2004, in partnership with India Development Trust: ‘Building Bridges - an NRI / Civil Society Partnership’, funded by a grant from the Department for International Development.
The issues raised in both conferences remain unresolved.
Our letters to Marjorie Scardino, CEO FT Group, and the British High Commissioner in Delhi are below, together with contact details for further letters.
The panel which chose Modi includes the editor of FDI Magazine -- Courtney Fingar, [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (+44) 20 7775 6365].
Contact email addresses:
2nd September 2009
Dear Ms Scardino
I am writing on behalf of South Asian Development Partnership to express our grave concern at the decision to confer the "FDI Asian Personality of the Year 2009" on Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat.
It has been documented by India’s National Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and many other fact finding reports that Mr Modi was complicit in and personally responsible for the communal carnage that occurred in Gujarat in 2002. Some 2,000 men, women and children were left dead and several hundred thousand citizens homeless. (See the Human Rights Watch report "We Have No Orders to Save You" http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2002/04/30/we-have-no-orders-save-you). Today over 5000 families of Internally Displaced Muslims still live in rehabilitation colonies built by NGOs as they have not been allowed to return to their villages.
On the basis of these and other reports, the U. S. government denied Mr. Modi a visa to visit the United States in 2005. The United States Commission on Religious Freedom subsequently recommended that he be denied a visa when he applied for one again in 2008, at which point Mr. Modi withdrew his application.
In August 2002 South Asian Development Partnership convened a conference in London at the request of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and other faith community leaders. ‘Healing the Wounds: Human Rights and Minorities in India’ sought to build bridges of reconciliation through honest examination and open acknowledgement of what had happened in Gujarat (see http://www.southasian.org.uk/intro_conference.html). The issues raised at that conference remain unresolved.
It will be a matter of great shame if this award is given to a man with such a record. We are deeply concerned at the effects. It will continue to disrupt and worsen relations between communities, in the UK and around the world. It will damage the credibility of the FT group and FDI magazine. It will demonstrate a distressing lack of concern for issues of truth and justice, for the sake of apparent financial advantage.
We urge you to take immediate action to ensure that this award is rescinded and a public statement of regret is made by the responsible publication.
cc: Courtney Fingar, Editor FDI Magazine
The British High Commissioner
2nd September 2009
We are writing to express our grave concern at the decision to confer the "FDI Asian Personality of the Year 2009" on Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat.
This is the decision of FDI magazine, part of the Financial Times Group. It is of course an independent body and we have written directly to the CEO (see the copy of our letter below).
We are writing now to you to urge you to make clear, both to the UK Government and to the FT Group, the consequences that this action will have for community relations in India and the UK and for the credibility of the UK government and business community. In the light of Mr Modi’s appalling human rights record, giving him this award will be a clear indication of a lack of concern for justice and a shameful concern for apparent commercial gain.
The issues raised by his actions in 2002 have never been resolved. It will be a matter of great shame if no action is taken to remind people of the facts and to seek to do all in our power to reverse this decision.
Ram Gidoomal CBE
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