Friday, September 26, 2014

US Court Summons PM Narendra Modi in Gujarat Riots Case // American Justice Center to hold press conference on Friday, Sept 26, 2014

A US court has ordered Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer allegations that he failed to stop the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, overshadowing his first trip to the United States in over a decade. The petitioner in the case is the American Justice Center, a non-profit human rights organisation, acting on behalf of two survivors of the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Mr Modi was serving his first term as Chief Minister of his home state when the riots erupted. More than 1,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims. The US court has given Mr Modi 21 days to respond.

The civil case before a New York court seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Mr Modi for "crimes against humanity" and extrajudicial killings under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. "There is evidence to support the conclusion that minister Modi committed both acts of intentional and malicious direction to authorities in India to kill and maim innocent persons of the Muslim faith," the petition said.
Man accused of serious crimes is to lead India's ruling party

After years of being unwelcome in the United States, Mr Modi arrives for a five-day visit on Friday in New York, where he will speak at the United Nations before heading to Washington for talks with President Barack Obama. The first meeting between the two leaders follows Mr Modi's landslide general election victory in May.

Mr Modi, 64, was denied a US visa in 2005 under the terms of a 1998 US law that bars entry to foreigners who have committed "particularly severe violations of religious freedom". Critics accuse Mr Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 until this year, of doing too little to stop the riots. He has always denied any wrongdoing and was exonerated in a Supreme Court inquiry in 2012.

A government spokesman was not available for comment while a spokesman for Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party declined to comment. An analyst said the case was unlikely to have much impact. "The evidence against him is based on conjecture as the courts in India have found. This case won't make much difference," said Satish Misra, a political analyst at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. Mr Modi will draw perhaps the largest crowd ever by a foreign leader on US soil when he takes the stage on Sunday at New York's Madison Square Garden before a crowd forecast to total more than 18,000 people.

Mr Modi is not the first leader to be sued in a US court. A rights group called Sikhs for Justice had filed a case against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, alleging that she played a role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. That case was also filed in Federal Court of Southern District of New York. The group also filed a similar case against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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Man accused of serious crimes is to lead India's ruling party

AJC to hold press conference on Friday, Sept 26, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. September 25, 2014

New York City, New York: The US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York today 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. Mr. 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).

Seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the twenty-eight page complaint 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.

An estimated 2,000 people were massacred and over 100,000 were driven from their homes. The pogroms were marked by unspeakable sexual violence against hundreds of women. AJC is providing legal support and advice to the survivors in their effort to hold Mr. Modi accountable for his complicity in the violence. The survivors are suing Mr. Modi for the loss of lives and trauma in their families, and caused emotional, financial and psychological devastation in their lives.

AJC has also announced a press conference to share details of the case, and the legal path ahead in the survivors' quest for justice. Details of the press conference are as follows:

WHAT: US Court Summons Indian Prime Minister Modi for his role in the Gujarat 2002

WHEN: Friday, September 26, 2014 at 11:30 AM

WHERE: Regency Room; Grand Hyatt New York
109 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, USA
(Park Avenue at Grand Central Terminal)

AJC President, Mr. Joseph Whittington Jr., who is the 2nd Ward Alderman of Harvey, Illinois will address the press conference.

"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.

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.

The Gujarat pogroms of 2002 was one of the worst episodes of sectarian violence in India, and was marked with horrific crimes against humanity, including the rape of hundreds of women. Many of the victims were subsequently burned alive. Several international human rights organizations and independent citizens' tribunals have established that the attacks and mass violence were planned and executed in an organized fashion, with the active connivance of the state administration and law enforcement, presided over by Mr. Modi.

A case filed by Mrs. Zakia Jafri, widow of slain Parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri, is pending against Mr. Modi in the Gujarat High Court.

American Justice center
54-14 74th street
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Phone/Fax Number: 1(800)-976-9428

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