Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  
Front Page

Modi calls off UK visit

The controversial, right-wing Indian politician Narendra Modi has put off a visit to UK because of security concerns, officials say.

Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat state, was due to visit UK over the weekend to attend a raft of functions, including one in London on Saturday.

Last week, Washington banned Modi from entry into the US for alleged violation of religious freedom.

Modi has been criticised for his handling of Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002.

The office of the Indian prime minister yesterday said Modi had telephoned to say he was postponing his trip following advice received from Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

The prime minister's spokesman, Sanjaya Baru, said, "His security cover was not assured and there were apprehensions he might face demonstrations."

Reports said human rights activists in the UK had planned to protest when Modi visited the country.

A spokesman for two Asian rights groups in the UK told India's The Hindu newspaper they were trying to obtain an arrest warrant on Modi ahead of the planned meeting.

Other organisations had asked the British government to revoke Modi's visa, saying his visit would "inflame" passions, the newspaper reported.