NEW YORK (TIP): A press release issued, October 28, by the Sikhs For Justice says that Bollywood mega star Amitabh Bachchan has been summoned by Los Angeles federal court for allegedly instigating violence against the Sikh community during the November 1984 massacre. Bachchan has been accused of raising a slogan “Khooon Ka Badla Khoon” (blood for blood) on October 31, 1984 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (left) is the legal advisor of the Sikhs For Justice and Ravi Batra (right) represents the Congress Party and Sonia Gandhi in cases filed against them by the Sikhs For Justice

The press release says, “As per the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Bachchan has 21 days after the service of summons to respond to the charges of human rights violations.” “If you failed to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for relief demanded in the complaint”, reads the October 27 summon issued by the US federal court. The US district court issued the summons on a complaint filed by New York-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and two alleged victims of the anti- Sikh riots. Running into 35-pages, the complaint alleges that Bachchan instigated people for violence after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In the past several years, SFJ has unsuccessfully tried to drag several Indian leaders to US courts in the alleged human rights violations cases. The Indian Panorama sough the comment of attorney Ravi Batra who has represented Congress party and Sonia Gandhi in cases filed against them by the Sikhs For Justice . Here is what he says:- “This SFJ-filed case follows its tried and failed recipe of suing in United States federal courts for events that occurred on foreign soil by and between non-Americans 30 years ago. These are matters that must be dealt with in India – be it in the courts or politically – as principles of sovereignty require.What everybody agrees with is that even one death is one too many, and a Sikh death is precious.

What disturbs me most is that Sikhs have earned a place of honor in history for their sacrifices in defense of others – every Hindu family used to have its oldest son become a Sikh – a singular act that recognized Sikhs’ necessary role as protectors of society as well as respectful honor for Sikhism and the Ten Gurus, none more than Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. In the United States,we did wrong to our Japanese-American kids born on American soil, when FDR in 1942 sent them to Internment Camps in violation of the Constitution during WWII.

It took president Jimmy Carter and later in 1988 (46 years after the start of these Camps) president Ronald Reagan to sign a law apologizing for the wrong and paying every surviving Camp Internee $20,000. While the sum was and is paltry, given the perpetual pain and constitutional violation that lasted years, it did bring respectful closure. Congressman Mike Honda is Exhibit A. I suggest that India needs to consider steps to bring respectful closure to this painful wound in that nation’s soul, and by doing so it can benefit to the maximum with the forward-looking contributions of the Sikh community once again – isn’t that the goal of every sane human being? The land of Guru Gobind Singh owes his followers that: respect and prosperity.”

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