India PM facing human rights suit in US

The American Justice Center on Sept. 25 filed a class action lawsuit (PDF) on behalf of anonymous survivors against India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for human rights abuses stemming from the religious riots in Gujarat in 2002. Modi was chief minister of Gujarat when Hindu mobs rioted through Muslim neighborhoods in the state, killing more than 1,000. The lawsuit seeks damages against Modi under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act (PDF).

Modi was elected prime minister of India in May in a landslide victory. The election of the Hindu nationalist and 282 members of his conservative Bharatiya Janata Party was called historic, as no party has won by such a margin since 1984. Since his election 13 of his 45 ministers have been charged with criminal offenses. Eight of them are accused of serious offenses. The Supreme Court held last July that convicted MPs would be immediately disqualified from serving without being given time for appeal. Prior to this ruling, convicted members could preserve their positions by filing appeals

From Jurst, Sept. 26. Used with permission.

  1. Indian Americans protest Narendra Modi

    The lawsuit against Narendra Modi comes just as he has arrived in the US for what the Washington Post calls a "rock star-like" tour—a big change from 2005, when he was denied a visa. But the Indian online journal notes that NRIs (non-resident Indians) in the US have launched an Internet campaign to dissent from the adulation, under the banner "Diaspora Says No to Modi." Democracy Now notes that Modi's Sept. 28 performance at Madison Square Garden was met with a protest outside the arena by the South Asia Solidarity Initiative.