A group of peacemakers has demanded that the US President be kept out from a Mahatma Gandhi memorial, during his visit to India, as "George Bush knows nothing about non-violence".
George W. Bush plans to lay a wreath in honour of Mahatma Gandhi on a memorial at Rajghat, a favourite destination of foreign dignitaries in New Delhi - an action that is being condemned as a "cynical, disrespectful display of symbolism."
The plan for Bush to "honour" Gandhi is even more astonishing, says the organisation, given that one of the main purposes of his trip is to cement a deal for U.S. nuclear aid to India. This, say campaigners, would violate current U.S. non-proliferation law. It has already drawn criticism from a host of church, peace, disarmament and non-proliferation groups.
The deal will reportedly be a tough sell to a sceptical Congress, which would need to amend U.S. law to create a "loophole" to give nuclear technology to India because of its nuclear weapons arsenal.
Peace Action, an organisation based in the Greater Washington Area, said it "denounced" the plan for President Bush to lay a reath in honour of the champion of non-violence during his three-day visit beginning tomorrow (Wednesday).
"Mahatma Gandhi was a man of non-violence and peace and is a hero to people all over the world. As his war-strewn presidency shows, George Bush knows nothing about non-violence. Gandhi would in no way condone his actions. Bush should reconsider this cynical, disrespectful display of symbolism," said Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action, in a press release.
Furthermore, the group maintained, that Bush was seeking to sign a nuclear deal with India, which was even more contradictory of Gandhi's views.
"Does Bush think Gandhi would bless one of the main purposes of this trip -- to promote nuclear aid to India?" questioned Martin. "Gandhi abhorred nuclear weapons and would surely call for the US and India to pursue the abolition of nuclear weapons."
Peace Action claims to be the largest peace and disarmament organisation founded in 1957, and has more than 90,000 members.
George W Bush plans to visit the memorial this Thursday (March 2).