After a US federal court issued a notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged excesses on Kashmiris, questions regarding the federal police moving to deliver the notice to him during the 'Howdy, Modi' event are being raised. The event will be attended by US President Donald Trump, who will also address the gathering.
The federal court in Houston has issued notices to Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and India's northern army command chief Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, according to a report.
Two unidentified Kashmiris have filed the petition under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a federal statute that allows civil suits on US soil against foreign officials suspected of committing torture or extrajudicial killing, a report in Houston Chronicle said. Human rights protesters are expected to gather outside NRG Stadium where the event is taking place.
The 73-page lawsuit filed through the Kashmir Khalistan Referendum Front alleges that Modi, Shah, and Lt General Dhillon were complicit in extrajudicial killings, wrongful death, battery, emotional distress, crimes against humanity and "cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment" of Kashmiris during the military operations.
The Torture Victim Protection Act was first used by Sister Dianna Ortiz, who sued the then Guatemalan Defense Minister, Hector Gramajo, for her abduction, rape, and torture by military forces in 1992. A federal court in Massachusetts awarded her $5 million in damages.
"We want to hold a human rights violator like Modi accountable," said Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, whose group has been focusing on the right to self-determination of the Indian state of Punjab but took up the cause of Kashmiris following the status change of Jammu and Kashmir. He told newspersons that Modi now needs an immunity granted by the US Department of State to leave the US.
Pannu claimed that Modi and the two other defendants do not enjoy an automatic immunity. The US State Department typically intervenes in such cases to ask the judge to grant the officials immunity from civil lawsuits, the report said.
Pannu said he is working with process servers to deliver Modi the court summons before he leaves the 'Howdy, Modi' event. If that doesn't work, Pannu's team will try again in New York when Modi visits an awards ceremony at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or during his scheduled visit to see statutes of Mahatma Gandhi, the report said.