Last Updated: Friday, April 11, 2014, 15:03
London: Artists and intellectuals based in the United Kingdom and the United States, including "Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie and sculptor and artist Anish Kapoor, have sent an open letter to The Guardian
to express their 'acute worry' over a Hindu nationalist like Narendra Modi winning this year's general election in India.
They are among more than a dozen of India's most respected artists and academics who say they are extremely concerned to read that Modi is leading in all opinion surveys and that his victory is more or less assured.
They have warned that Modi's assumption of power at the Centre will bode ill for India and its future.
The letter has also been signed by British lawyers, activists and three members of parliament.
Most of them see Modi, 63, as a religious hardliner with authoritarian instincts who has adopted a moderate image to win power.
Kapoor said that the India he grew up in took a secular, pluralist view, while Modi's India is partisan and could potentially result in terrifying consequences.
The open letter to The Guardian says Modi has repeatedly refused to "accept responsibility or render an apology" for the communal riots in 2002, and says that it is reflective of a failure of moral character and political ethics.
The BJP says that these comments are prejudiced, biased and adds that some of these people have entertained a pathological hatred towards Modi for years.
Among the other signatories are eminent Indian left-wing economist Prabhat Patnaik, artists Dayanita Singh and Vivan Sundaram, art historian Geeta Kapur and Canada-based film maker Deepa Mehta.
Chetan Bhatt, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, said Modi embodies a callous, dangerous and authoritarian ideology that stands opposed to genuine liberal, democratic and secular values that founded the modern state of India.
First Published: Friday, April 11, 2014, 15:03