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Badal expected to visit US in July; Sikhs for Justice gear up serve court summons this time

June 30, 2013 | By

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (June 30, 2013): According to a news reported in “The Washington Post”: “[a]n Indian head of state is expected to visit Wisconsin next week, and a Sikh group accusing him of human-rights violations is offering $10,000 to anyone who serves him with a federal summons while he’s here”.

Parkash Badal and Sukhbir Badal

It is learnt that Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, is scheduled to visit United States of America in the first week of July and a New York-based advocacy group – ‘Sikhs for Justice’ has filed two federal lawsuits in Milwaukee against him. The first lawsuit was dismissed in May 2013 over because of lack of proof of service of summons.

“The group plans to be far more diligent this time. Badal is expected to be in the Milwaukee area July 5 for a wedding, and the group has hired three agencies of professional servers to deliver the papers”, the news reported in The Washington Post reports further.

The servers plan to stake out airports in Milwaukee and Chicago. They’ll try to track him down at the wedding venue, and they’ll look for him at all points in between. Their goal is to deliver a court summons, which can be handed to him or even dropped on him.

“We are not taking any chances this time,” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser for Sikhs for Justice reportedly siad. “We want to have a photograph and, if possible, video” of Badal being served.

The lawsuit also names Badal’s son as a defendant. Sukhbir Singh Badal is Punjab’s deputy chief minister, in which capacity he also oversaw and condoned the detainment and torture of political prisoners, the suit contends.

“We will give a legal response to the summons” if papers are served, Bains said. “The case against Mr. Badal is politically motivated but our response will be strictly in accordance with the law.”

“Parkash Singh Badal was represented in the first lawsuit by former federal prosecutor Steven Biskupic, who did not immediately return a message seeking comment”.

It is learnt that the Sikhs for Justice has announced a separate award of $10,000 rewards for serving each of the defendants.

Anyone — not only professional servers — can claim the bonus. The group planned to post a copy of the one-page summons online at Sikhs for Justice’s Facebook Page so anyone could download it and serve one or both defendants.

The bonus will go to whichever person’s service is considered valid by the federal court in Milwaukee.

The civil lawsuit lays out allegations by three Sikhs who say they were detained in Punjab for days without charges and subjected to beatings by a police force overseen by the Badals. All three plaintiffs now live in Fresno, Calif.

Jeet Singh said he was detained four times between 2001 and 2009 for a total of 48 days. He claimed he was waterboarded and beaten with leather belts and that wooden rollers were applied on his legs and thighs.

His wife, Gurdeep Kaur, said she was detained for 30 days in 2001, during which time male and female officers slapped her and banged her head against a wall.

And Jagtar Singh alleged he was given electric shocks on his ears, laid on an ice slab and doused in cold water. He also said he was beaten with wooden sticks and leather belts and tied in a wooden trap for extended periods.

The lawsuit says the Badals not only condoned the acts but rewarded some of the officers involved.

“The defendants throughout their tenure have actively shielded, protected and promoted the police officers who were or have been involved in gross human rights violations, extra-judicial killings and torture,” the lawsuit said.

After Sikhs for Justice filed its first lawsuit last year, Punjab police began harassing the plaintiffs’ relatives and friends in India, Pannun said.

Sikhs for Justice initially tried to serve Parkash Singh Badal when he visited suburban Milwaukee last year. He was in town following a shooting rampage in which a white supremacist opened fire at a Sikh temple, killing six people.

But a man who said he was at the event as an interpreter testified that the papers were handed to him, not to Badal. A judge concluded that the process servers who believed they served Badal made an “honest mistake.” Sikhs for Justice, that believed that this was not a case of mistake but Badal was saved from lawsuit under a conspiracy, has appealed against the dismissal order.

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