JALANDHAR (TIP): Weeks after securing a summons from a US court against Congress president Sonia Gandhi for protecting perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, rights group Sikhs For Justice has now obtained another summons from a federal court in Washington against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his alleged role in sanctioning cash rewards in the 90s for Punjab cops involved in fake encounters and protecting the architects of the riots. The case has been docketed and assigned to US district judge James E Boasberg. The plaintiffs have 120 days to serve summons on the PM, who will be in Washington this week to meet US president Barack Obama. However, SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannu said that since it was an uphill task to serve summons to the PM through regular process during his meeting with Obama in White House, an emergency motion will be filed in the court seeking alternative means to deliver it to the White House staff and members of PM’s security personnel.
Justifying the filing of rights violation lawsuit against the Prime Minister, SFJ said that he should be held accountable for funding crimes against humanity and protecting security force personnel involved in extrajudicial killings of Sikhs in Punjab. The human rights violation suit, filed under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for funding several counter-insurgency operations in Punjab resulting in killings of people, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Under ATCA and TVPA, US federal courts have jurisdiction over cases of human rights violations even though incidents occurred on foreign soil. The complaint filed on September 25 alleged that Manmohan’s culpability in the crimes started in 1991 when he took office of the finance minister. Manmohan approved and financed, as head of finance ministry, “cash rewards” for killing Sikhs through extra-judicial means. The 24-page complaint also claimed that during his tenure as PM, Manmohan has been actively shielding and protecting members of his political party who were involved in anti-Sikh riots. Sikh groups are also holding a “justice rally” on September 27 in front of the White House during Obama-Manmohan meeting.