Indian Muslim Council - USA, an advocacy group working towards safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, called the decision of fDi magazine not to honour Narendra Modi the Asian Personality of 2009 award as a step in the right direction. IMC-USA further urged fDi Magazine to cancel the amended award to the State of Gujarat in lieu of Narendra Modi.
Following widespread protests from rights activists, the fDi Magazine amended the award to be given to Modi with the statement, “Following a review prompted by the ongoing investigation into the 2002 Gujarat riots, fDi has decided to present its award to Gujarat state, rather than Mr Narendra Modi, the state’s chief minister.” The statement further said, “Mr Modi was chief minister of Gujarat at the time of the riots. Mr Modi’s alleged role in connection to the riots is under investigation in which over 2,000 innocent people were killed.”
This open state sponsored massacre of minority Muslims occurred in 2002 under Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister. In addition, hundreds of women were gang-raped on the streets of Gujarat, over 150,000 people were ethnically cleansed and an estimated damage of $500 million was caused to minority owned properties. Narendra Modi is widely regarded as the architect of these massacres, considered to be the most brutal in the history of India since its Independence. After almost seven years of evasion from any judicial purview on April 24, 2009 the Indian Supreme Court finally asked a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the role of 64 people, including that of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat 2002 riots cases.
“It was on Modi’s watch that the massacres took place and he continues to be the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Giving the award to the State of Gujarat instead of Modi is akin to awarding Nazi establishment instead of Hitler,” said Mr. Rasheed Ahmed, IMC-USA’s President. “Tens of thousands of ethnically cleansed victims of the 2002 violence still live in refugee camps. The State of Gujarat under Modi continues to actively create hurdles into the prosecution of those involved in the violence,” he further added.
Modi has become a huge liability for the State of Gujarat and the industrious Gujarati community. In spite of media hype about Gujarat’s ability to attract foreign investments, an independent analysis done by journalists Dionne Bunsha (for Frontline) and Salil Tripathi (for The Mint) concluded that foreign investment has declined consistently after Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat.
British Indian Muslims have also deplored fDi magazine’s insistence on honouring Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The fDi had chosen Modi as its Asian Personality of the Year (2009) but faced with opposition and condemnation within and outside India, fDi’s website has now announced, “Following a review prompted by the ongoing investigation into the 2002 Gujarat riots, fDi has decided to present its award to Gujarat state, rather than Mr Narendra Modi, the state’s chief minister.”
In a statement, Chairman Council of Indian Muslims – CIM (UK) Mohammad Munaf Zeena said, “The decision to confer the Asia fDi award to the state of Gujarat and not to Narendra Modi makes no difference as it is still a tribute to his so-called economic development programmes. This is still a blatant insult to the souls of his victims and those who are still waiting for justice to be done.” He urged the fDi organisers to reverse their decision and thus desist from the “crime of praising and honouring a person who has been recognised as and will go down in history as the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’.”