Ahead of his arrival in the US, a federal court in NewYork has issued summons against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat when he was the state’s chief minister.
The summons against Modi were issued yesterday by the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York following a lawsuit filed by the New York-based American Justice Center (AJC), a non-profit human rights organisation, along with two survivors of the violence. Modi is scheduled to arrive in New York today on his maiden US visit as prime minister.
During his five-day visit, Modi would address the annual UN General Assembly, the Indian-American community at Madison Square Garden in New York, and then travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama on September 29 and 30. Groups known for their anti-India activities have planned a series of demonstrations against him in both New York and Washington.
The lawsuit against Modi has been filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the 28-page complaint charges Modi with committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community.
The Tort Case against Prime Minister Modi is an unequivocal message to human rights abusers everywhere, said John Bradley, director at the AJC. Time and place and the trappings of power will not be an impediment to justice, he said. The Alien Tort Claims Act, also known as Alien Tort Statute (ATS), is a US federal law first adopted in 1789 that gives the federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by US residents for acts committed in violation of international law outside the US.
Reacting to the lawsuit in New Delhi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the government will examine the reported summons issued by the US court against Modi. We will examine it. I don’t know it. I am only hearing it from you. We will examine it, Prasad told reporters in NewYork.
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