August 9, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ludhiana (August 09, 2012): As per information available with Sikh Siyasat that Parkash Singh Badal the chief minister of the Punjab has been hit with a federal lawsuit by human rights group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) alleging he oversaw torture of Sikhs in India.
Badal is visiting Milwaukee, USA for wedding of niece of Badal Dal leader Surjeet Singh Rakhra.
“The lawsuit contends that Parkash Singh Badal had command and control of law enforcement officials who inflicted cruel and inhumane treatment – and “extrajudicial death” – on three named plaintiffs and thousands of other unnamed members of a requested class of plaintiffs”, reports JSOnline.com.
It is learnt that the 30-page complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee by Avtar Singh, of New York, who lists himself as coordinator of “Sikhs for Justice.”
The complaint claims the federal court has jurisdiction under the Torture Victim Protection and Alien Tort laws, and because Badal is currently in Wisconsin.
Badal arrived in Milwaukee Tuesday. He had planned the trip to attend the wedding of Mequon businessman Darshan Dhaliwal’s daughter on the weekend, before Sunday’s attack on worshippers at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek that left six of them, and the shooter, dead.
“Wednesday, Badal visited with victims’ families. He declined to comment about the suit, saying he hadn’t seen it” JSOnline’s news report has added.
According to available information he lawsuit cites claims of crimes against humanity, cruel and inhuman treatment, extrajudicial killing, negligence, battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It says “no adequate remedies are available to Plaintiffs under the systems in India.”
Sikhs for Justice is an American, nonprofit group “striving to disseminate true and correct information, statistics, figures and data regarding the Genocide of Sikhs in India from 1984 to 2000 to the international community and to create considerate public opinion.”
The complaint cites the history of Sikhs as a persecuted religious minority in Hindu-majority India, and cites a 1984 government attack in Punjab that it claims killing thousands of Sikh pilgrims.
It says Badal, who served as chief minister from 1997-2002, and since 2007 covered up, allowed and acquiesced in the torture of Sikhs committed by security forces under his control.
It only learned late Monday from Indian news reports that Badal was coming to the U.S., Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, legal advisor of SJF is reported to have said, and was not trying to exploit the attention focused on the Gurudwara massacre for other issues.
“We don’t understand how officials with a consistent pattern of human rights violations can get visas and get protection at U.S. cost on these trips,” Pannun said late Wednesday.
“We can’t fathom how he can come to U.S. with these known violations. There’s no accountability. That’s our issue.” Pannu is said to have told JSOnline.com
It is notable that Indian minister Kamal Nath was also served with summons of similar law suit about two years back when he was visiting US. Nath is believed to have participated in November 1984 genocidal violence against Sikhs.