London, Aug. 24: The British High Commission in Delhi is being asked to draw up a list of undesirables who should not be admitted into the UK under new rules to combat terrorism or extremism.
The name of Narendra Modi is likely to figure on this list, though it may prove problematic keeping out the Gujarat chief minister should he make it a point of honour to come.
Modi can boast of a dedicated following among the 300,000-strong Gujarati population in Britain, but equally there will be a human rights lobby arguing that the man who allegedly did nothing to stop the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat should be on the banned list. Earlier this year, America denied a visa to Modi, who subsequently cancelled a trip to Britain.
The measures announced today by British home secretary Charles Clarke are aimed at Islamic militants in the aftermath of the London bombings on July 7 and 21 but others, such as Modi and Khalistanis who take a militant line on Sikh self-rule, could also be caught by the measures.
The rules are tougher than before because Britain can now expel foreigners who have being living here for years. British-born nationals cannot be deported but foreigners who have acquired British nationality can in theory be asked to return to their countries of origin after being stripped of their UK citizenship.
The UK is seeking agreement with a number of countries that deportees would not be tortured or face the death penalty. Clarke said British missions abroad had been asked to draw up a list of people, whose names might figure on a banned list.
There would be no difficulty to deporting people to India, now considered a “safe” country by the UK government. In the past, several Sikhs were able to claim asylum by arguing their lives would be put at risk if they were returned.
A home office spokesperson confirmed: “We are drawing up a list with the help of various sources, such as the foreign and Commonwealth office and the police.”
What was launched today was Britain’s version of India’s much-hated Prevention of Terrorism Act, though in the UK’s case it applies to foreigners.
The list of “unacceptable behaviour” is intended to prevent the propagation of views that would: “foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts; foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK”.
The home office and police will be keeping a sharp eye on: “writing, producing, publishing or distributing material; public speaking including preaching; running a website; or using a position of responsibility such as teacher, community or youth leader”.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission said it was “alarmed” at the list of unacceptable behaviour. It warned that the new grounds for deportation amounted to the “criminalisation of thought, conscience and belief”.