Narendra Modi as India’s next prime minister would “bode ill for India’s future as a country that cherishes the ideals of inclusion and protection for all its peoples,” a group of prominent Indians have said today in a letter to the Guardian.

Turner Prize winner Aneesh Kapoor, novelist Salman Rushdie, academic Homi K Bhabha, film director Deepa Mehta, artist Dayanita Singh, and 21 others have in their letter said: “Without questioning the validity of India’s democratic election process, it is crucial to remember the role played by the Narendra Modi government in the horrifying events in Gujarat in 2002.”

“The Muslim minority were overwhelmingly the victims of pillage, murder and terror, resulting in the deaths of more than 2000 men, women and children. Women, in particular, were subjected to brutal acts of violence and left largely unprotected by the security forces,” the letter noted.

Despite the fact that some of those involved are facing trial, “Modi repeatedly refuses to accept any responsibility or to apologise. Such a failure of moral character and political ethics is incompatible with India’s secular constitution which, in advance of many constitutions around the world, is founded on pluralist principles and seeks fair and full representation for minorities.”

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