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Remove Narendra Modi from the 2012 TIME Poll

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"Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned TIME magazine’s cover story on Mr. Narendra Modi as a dismal PR exercise intended to whitewash Mr. Modi’s complicity in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002.

IAMC has also questioned the timing of the story, coming on the heels of a blog article by the Managing Director of the Brookings Institution that appears to be along the same lines, projecting Mr. Modi as India’s “most admired and most feared politician,” and even eulogizing his apparent concern for the environment, while glossing over the details of Mr. Modi’s role in the murderous carnage of 2002.

“Although TIME’s cover story is not an endorsement, it contains inaccuracies, half-truths and glaring omission of pertinent details on Mr. Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister. These betray its real objective – an attempt by APCO Worldwide, Modi’s PR firm in Washington DC – to combat negative coverage of their client’s documented connivance in gross human rights violations, in order to project him as a Prime Ministerial candidate,” said Mr. Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC. “Mr. Narendra Modi as the potential Prime Minister of India is a diplomatic and moral conundrum for the United States and other countries of common human values,” added Mr. Khateeb.

While the Indian courts are censuring Mr. Modi for contempt of court and assessing the evidence collected by human rights organizations and investigative journalists, the TIME story and the Brookings article are examples of irresponsible journalism that cares little for facts. Under Mr. Modi’s watch, murderous mobs engaged in the killing of over 2,000 people, in brutal sexual crimes against 800 women, and in the displacement of over 150,000 people, many of whom are still living in refugee camps that lack basic amenities. For the thousands of cases registered during and after the carnage, barely a handful of arrests have been made. In 2005, the US State Department, in an unprecedented move, placed a ban on Mr. Modi from entering the US on the grounds of egregious religious freedom violations under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

IAMC has called upon TIME to run a second story on Narendra Modi and Gujarat, with detailed perspectives added by human rights defenders and whistleblowers in India, the findings of international human rights organizations as well as excerpts from the House Resolution 569 introduced this month in the House by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN).

IAMC has also called upon the Brookings Institution to salvage its credibility as a think-tank by conducting an official study into the situation in Gujarat both on the human rights and the economic front, instead of merely repeating Mr. Modi’s fallacious claims.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation.

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