Congresswoman Cori Bush and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have joined Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in boycotting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Washington speech.
Both politicians announced their decision via Twitter. The development came shortly after Omar announced that she would be boycotting Modi’s speech, citing human rights abuse.
Both Ocasio-Cortez and Bush have made their decision to boycott for the same reasons. In her statement on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out how Modi had been denied a U.S. visa in 2005 due to his alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
She goes on to explain that a joint address to Congress is among the most prestigious invitations the U.S. can extend, and it should not be done so to individuals with a record of human rights violations.
Bush also alleges Modi’s history of committing human rights abuses, undermining democracy, and targeting journalists.
In February this year, BBC offices in India had been raided by tax department officials, just weeks after the release of a documentary revealing evidence of Modi’s responsibility in Gujarat riots. The documentary was later blocked by the government.
Modi had been invited by top U.S. lawmakers to join Biden in a joint address to Congress on June 22nd. As China’s influence grows in the Indo-Pacific region, the U.S. is anxious to secure India’s cooperation as a counterbalance.