Gujarat state's Chief Minister Narendra Modi is the guest of honour of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association's annual convention in Florida next month, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) said on Wednesday.

 

"Our nation should not reward a man accused of complicity in the massacre of civilians by granting him a visa or a place of honour at a convention," said Parvez Ahmed, an official of the Muslim advocacy group.

 

Bloody riots

 

Modi, a Hindu nationalist, has been accused by opposition and human rights groups of doing little to stop the bloody riots in Gujarat in 2002, when up to 2000 Muslims were killed.

 

The violence was thought to have been triggered by a Muslim mob torching a train carrying Hindu activists at Gujarat's Godhra town, killing 59 people.

 

However, in January a railway inquiry concluded the train fire was accidental.

The four-member railway committee appointed to investigate the fire said it probably was caused by someone cooking or smoking inside the coach.

Blind eye

 

India's National Human Rights Commission and fact-finding teams from embassies stationed in New Delhi accused Modi of turning a blind eye to the riots.

 

Cair is seeking to block Modi's entry based on the International Religious Freedom Act, which makes any foreign official engaged in "particularly severe violations of religious freedom" inadmissible to the United States.