New York – The US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York today (Thursday) issued summons against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the massacres committed in Gujarat during 2002, when he was Chief Minister of the Indian state. Modi is expected to arrive in the US on Friday, September 26, 2014.
The lawsuit has been filed by the American Justice Center (AJC), a non-profit human rights organization established to bring to justice perpetrators of mass violence and genocide. AJC has filed the suit along with two survivors of the horrific and organized violence of Gujarat 2002. The suit has been filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).
“The Tort Case against Prime Minister Modi is an unequivocal message to human rights abusers everywhere,” said Dr. John Bradley, a Director at the AJC, a veteran activist from the civil rights era. “Time and place and the trappings of power will not be an impediment to justice,” added Dr. Bradley, a known associate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the twenty-eight page complaint charges Prime Minister Modi with committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community.
According to a release from the AJC there were an estimated 2,000 people massacred and over 100,000 driven from their homes. The pogroms were marked by unspeakable sexual violence against hundreds of women. The organization, AJC said it was providing legal support and advice to the survivors in their effort to hold Modi accountable for his complicity in the violence. “The survivors are suing Modi for the loss of lives and trauma in their families, and caused emotional, financial and psychological devastation in their lives,” added the statement.
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.