Group Sues Indian Prime Minister in U.S. for Alleged Human Rights Abuse in Kashmir

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a meeting with Russian President on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek on June 13, 2019. (Photo by Grigory SYSOYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo credit should read GRIGORY SYSOYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
GRIGORY SYSOYEV/AFP/Getty Images

A Kashmiri and Sikh advocate group sued Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a U.S. circuit court this week for alleged human rights violations in New Delhi-held Kashmir.

Hindustan Times reported Friday:

A group calling itself Kashmir Khalistan Referendum Front (KKRF) and two unnamed Kashmiri-origin individuals have sued the Indian prime minister [last Thursday] in a federal court in Texas over alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, according to media reports.

Court documents in the U.S. didn’t name the two Kashmiri individuals, a man and a woman, who filed the lawsuit, citing their “fear of retaliation” against family members living in India.The court documents asked the defendants [Prime Minister Narendra Modi and som members of his adminstration] to respond with 21 days to the plaintiffs at Punnun’s address in New York.

The lawsuit was filed by KKRF under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a federal statute allowing civil suits on U.S. soil against foreign officials, the Houston Chronicle reported.

KKRF filed the suit less than a week before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to deliver a speech in Texas alongside President Donald Trump on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported Friday:

The Front has complained that the Modi-led government has occupied Kashmir and on Aug 5 when it annexed the disputed territory in violation of international laws.

It has also nominated Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah and another functionary, Kanwal Jeet Singh, as the accused responsible for this illegal occupation and for committing gross human rights violations.

The violations include [the imposition of an extended and unprecedented curfew, complete communication lockdown, denial of basic necessities to the inhabitants, illegal detention, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Pro-New Delhi authorities have imposed a security lockdown.

As of early September, Indian authorities had detained up to 4,000 people as part of moves to stop unrests from Modi’s decision to end Indian Kashmir’s autonomy. India has also imposed a communication blackout involving the shutting down of many newspapers, which could mean the number of arrests could be more significant.

Nuclear powers India, Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, China all have competing claims to Kashmir territories. A border, the Line of Control (LOC), between India and Pakistan separate most of the region between the two rivals, but both countries claim the area in its entirety.

China and India have fought one war over Kashmir, leaving Beijing in control of a small section on the Indian side of the LOC. Pakistan has ceded control of some of its territories to China.

India officially claims control of both Chinese and Pakistani Kashmir, angering Beijing and Pakistan and warning of a potential nuclear war.

Echoing the U.S., New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of backing terrorists who sow unrest in Kashmir and beyond. Meanwhile, Pakistan blames India of human right abuses against dissenters — separatists either looking for independence or a merger with Pakistan.

China and Pakistan have accused India’s ruling government of trying to carry out an “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” campaign in India’s only predominantly Muslim region — New Delhi-held Kashmir, a charge India denies.

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