US court summons Indian Punjab officials over crackdown on Sikhs, internet ban

The Nation  |  Mar 29, 2023

 US court summons Indian Punjab officials over crackdown on Sikhs, internet ban

LONDON/NEW YORK    -     A US Federal Court in New York has summoned India Punjab’s chief min­ister and two other officials after a violent crackdown was launched against Sikhs including a total ban on the internet in the state.

The New York Federal Court has is­sued a summons on a writ filed by pro-Khalistan Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) at the court against Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Puro­hit and Gauruv Yadav for arresting thousands of pro-Khalistan Sikhs and placing internet ban in Punjab to blackout the information about the violent crackdown on the pro-Khalistan Sikhs.

The Federal Court summons is­sued in the case 23-cv-02578 “SFJ v. Bhagwant Mann, Banwarilal Puro­hit, and Gauruv Yadav” states that “within 21 days after service of this summons on you (not counting the day you received it) — or 60 days if you are the United States or a Unit­ed States agency, or an officer or employee of the United States de­scribed in Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 (a)(2) or (3) — you must serve on the plain­tiff an answer to the attached com­plaint or a motion under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure”.

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The Sikhs For Justice March 27 complaint filed before the Feder­al Judge of the Southern District of New York alleges that “this ac­tion is brought in the wake of on­going severe and violent ‘Siege of Punjab’ in India where thousands of Sikh families have been illegal­ly detained, subjected to custodi­al torture while the whole state of Punjab has been cut and isolat­ed from the rest of the world with shut down of internet to blackout the information about ongoing hu­man rights abuses and to carry on the persecution of the Sikh popu­lation with impunity on account of their subscription to socio-re­ligious campaign – ‘Khalsa Va­heer’ – run by the ‘Waris Punjab De’ (WPD) under the leadership of Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and for their support to the political opinion ‘Khalistan Referendum.”

The SFJ General Counsel and pro-Khalistan Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun explained stated: “The class action lawsuit against Bhagwant Singh Mann, Banwari Lal Purohit and Gauruv Yadav has been filed under Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA) which gives the U.S. Courts extraterritorial ju­risdiction over the crime of tor­ture committed in foreign coun­tries and allows the prosecution of such human rights abuses. They are involved in war crimes against Sikhs in Punjab and they must be brought to justice.” 

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The SFJ’s General Counsel said that Punjab had been cut and isolated from the rest of the world with the shutdown of interest services for the Sikhs’ support to Khalsa Vaheer (re­ligious procession run by Sikh lead­er Amritpal Singh, whose where­abouts are unknown. Sikhs all over the world have been protesting in thousands against the Indian crack­down in Punjab on Sikhs.

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