Washington: A day before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landmark visit to the US, a human rights group has obtained summons against him for his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots as state chief minister.
New York based American Justice Centre (AJC) obtained the summons from the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York in a suit filed with two survivors of what it called the "horrific and organized violence of Gujarat 2002."
Filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), the 28-page complaint charges Modi with "committing crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture and inflicting mental and physical trauma on the victims, mostly from the Muslim community."
AJC said it is providing legal support and advice to the survivors in their effort to hold "Modi accountable for his complicity in the violence."
The survivors are suing Modi for the loss of lives and trauma in their families, and caused emotional, financial and psychological devastation in their lives.
"The Tort Case against Prime Minister Modi is an unequivocal message to human rights abusers everywhere," said John Bradley, an AJC director.
"Time and place and the trappings of power will not be an impediment to justice."
The Alien Tort Claims Act, also known as Alien Tort Statute (ATS), is a US federal law first adopted in 1789 that gives the federal courts jurisdiction to hear lawsuits filed by US residents for acts committed in violation of international law outside the US, AJC said.
Sikhs for Justice, another human rights group, plans to hold a "Citizens' Court" in a park in front of the White House to try Modi for his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, when he is holding a summit meeting with President Barack Obama.
The group has routinely obtained such summons against visiting Indian leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.
Yet another group, Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) plans to show Modi black flags when he heads for the Indian-American community's public reception at the Madison Square Garden in mid-town Manhattan Sep 28.