Everytime, an Indian leader visits the United States, human rights activists clamour for attention rushing to an adjacent court pleading for summons be issued under one pretext or the other. While Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi were subjected to receive similar summons for their so-called abetting role in Sikh riots of 1984, Prime Minister Narendra Modi now faces same fate over his alleged role in 2002 Godhra riots.
New York based American Justice Centre (AJC) on Thursday obtained the summons from the Southern District of New York after naming two victims of 2002 riots in a suit under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for “committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community.”
AJC said it is providing legal support to those two survivors who are suing Modi for the loss of lives and trauma in their families. “The Tort Case against Prime Minister Modi is an unequivocal message to human rights abusers everywhere,” said John Bradley, an AJC director. “Time and place and the trappings of power will not be an impediment to justice.”
The Alien Tort Claims Act, adopted in 1789, provides the federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by US residents for acts committed in violation of international law outside the US. Not alienated from the attention,
Sikhs for Justice is planning to hold a “Citizens’ Court” in front of the White House over the 2002 Gujarat riots, coinciding his meeting with President Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), another outfit plans to hold a parade of black flags when Modi goes to the Indian-American community’s public reception at the Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York on Sunday.
The attorneys in the US are more active when it comes to filing suits in courts which have federal jurisdiction and many Asian and African dignitaries are subjected to face such cases of human rights violations and Indian and Chinese leaders are no exception whenever they visit the US.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits New york, he may be handed over the summons by the attorneys who are fighting the case in the New York Federal court but Modi may skip it, if the Indian consulate officers are alert. Otherwise, nothing happens even if he signs and receives the summons as the Indian consulate-appointed attorneys will take over the next phase of dealing with it.