ISLAMABAD: Even before he touched down on U.S. soil after a nine-year visa ban, a federal court in New York has issued summons against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in presiding over the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat during 2002 when he was Chief Minister of the state.
The lawsuit, filed by the American Justice Center (AJC), a non-profit human rights organisation identified among the plaintiffs “two survivors of the horrific and organised violence of Gujarat 2002”, and called for a response from Modi based on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, whose law firm represents the plaintiffs, explained that the summons issued by the Federal Court of Southern District of New York requires Mr. Modi to respond within 21 days after it is served, Indian newspaper `The Hindu’ reported.
The summons document, which also alludes to the 21-day deadline, notes that if the Prime Minster fails to answer the attached complaint, “Judgement by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint,” adding that Modi was expected to file his answer or motion with the court.
Specifically the twenty-eight page complaint filed was said to seek compensatory and punitive damages and “charges PM Modi with committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community”.
Pannun further noted that the “default judgement”, which in other cases has been entered against defendants in their absence, would be a “declaration from Federal Court that 2002 killing of Muslims was `Genocide’ as per US and international law”, and possibly grant compensatory and punitive damages for the riot victims.