September 26, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Washington, DC (September 26, 2013): It is learnt that less than 20 days after securing summons from a US court against Congress president Sonia Gandhi for protecting perpetrators of the November 1984 genocide of Sikhs, New York-based rights group “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) has now secured summons from a federal court in Washington DC against Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his role in sanctioning big amounts as cash rewards for Punjab cops involved in the counter-insurgency operations the early 1990s, as well as protecting those involved in the Sikhs genocide 1984.
The Human rights violation case “SFJ v. Manmohan Singh” has been assigned to US District Judge, James E. Boasberg. The plaintiffs have 120 days to serve the summons and complaint to the Indian Prime Ministerwho will be in Washington this week to meet US President Obama.
SFJ’s legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has revealed that because it will be very difficult to serve summons on Dr. Manmohan Singh through the regular process given the tight security around him since he will be attending a summit with US President Obama at the White House, an emergency motion will be filed with the Washington Federal Court for leave “to effect alternative means of service” by allowing the rights group to deliver the summons to White House staff and members of the Prime Minister’s security detail while he is here.
The human rights violation lawsuit against PM Manmohan Singh has been filed by SFJ under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for funding the human rights abuses in Punjab in the name of counter-insurgency operations. According to SFJ thousands of Sikhs were killed extra-judicially by Indian security forces.
The plaintiffs in the class action human rights violation law suit against PM Manmohan Singh are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the torture and extra-judicial killings at the hands of the security forces. Under ATCA and TVPA, the US federal courts have jurisdiction over cases of human rights violations even though violations have occurred on foreign soil as in this case.
The September 25th complaint filed before Washington DC District Court says that Manmohan Singh’s culpability in the crimes of torture and extra-judicial killings of Sikhs started in 1991 when he became finance minister.
Manmohan Singh approved and financed, as head of the finance ministry, the infamous practice of “cash rewards” to members of security forces for killing Sikhs through extra-judicial means often in “staged and fake encounters” to curb the Sikh rights’ movement in Punjab, the complaint further alleges.
The 24 page complaint says that during his tenure as Prime minister of India (since 2004), Manmohan Singh has actively shielded and protected the members of his political party who were involved in organizing and carrying out genocidal attacks on the Sikh population in November 1984 resulting in the death of more than 30, 000 members of the community.
As per certain media reports Ravi Batra, the New York-based attorney who represents the Congress Party in a similar case filed against it by the SFJ, termed it as a publicity gimmicks.
“SFJ’s ‘red carpet’ welcome, a lawsuit against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the leader of a free, independent and sovereign state, is headline grabbing while insulting law, decency and common sense,” Batra reportedly said.
Sikh groups are also holding a “Justice Rally” on September 27 in front of the White House during the Obama-Singh meeting. The rally is supported by Sikh organizations and management committees of gurdwaras across the United States and Canada.
It is notable that thousands of Sikhs were killed (mostly burnt alive) in various massacres that were staged at various places throughout India in November 1984. The perpetrators and organizers of this genocide have enjoyed blind impunity in India as Indian state has did not only protect these culprits rather they were rewarded with high political seats.
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