Germany delinks Narendra Modi's image from human rights issues

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Germany delinks Narendra Modi's image from human rights issues
New Delhi:  Against the backdrop of the European Union ending decade-old boycott of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Germany today sought to make distinction between human rights issues and image of the BJP leader, saying both cannot be linked.

"The question whether we talk to Mr Modi or not has nothing to do with our position on human rights or rights of women. We don't want to continue that debate," German Ambassador Michael Steiner said.

He made the comment at a briefing on an event being organised by German Embassy to commemorate International Women's Day on March 8.

Mr Steiner was asked whether it was not contradictory for German government to speak about women rights issues and at the same time supporting Mr Modi under whose leadership the women suffered a lot during the 2002 communal riots.

He was also referred to Mr Modi's controversial comments in August last year when he attributed high rate of malnutrition in his state to figure conscious young girls.

Refusing to speak further on the issue, Mr Steiner said Mr Modi has been an elected Chief Minister for the third time and that the courts are occupied with case for 10 years.

European Union has ended over a decade-old boycott of Mr Modi. Last October, Britain, a member of the European Union, had ended its decade-long boycott of Gujarat when its High Commissioner to India James Bevan met Mr Modi to mark a "cordial beginning" to fresh ties, with the two discussing opportunities for greater economic cooperation.

Mr Steiner also complimented the campaign by women rights group in India in the wake of the December 16 gang-rape of a 23-year-old student and said the incident "catalysed" a high-level debate across the globe.

"Our sympathies go to the victim and her family. This tragic event has catalysed a high level debate across the globe," he said.

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