June 7, 2023

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


Amritpal Singh, a Sikh leader, leaves the holy Sikh shrine of the Golden Temple along with his supporters, in Amritsar, India, March 3, 2023. — Reuters
Amritpal Singh, a Sikh leader, leaves the holy Sikh shrine of the Golden Temple along with his supporters, in Amritsar, India, March 3, 2023. — Reuters

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 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 Gaurav 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 Sikh.

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”.

The Sikhs For Justice 27th March 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 the 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 Yadavhas 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.”

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 thousands against the Indian crackdown in Punjab on Sikhs. Thousands of British Sikhs demonstrated outside Indian High Commission last week against the Indian government crackdown in Indian Punjab for the arrest of Khalistani Amritpal Singh and the illegal detention of thousands of pro-Khalistan Sikhs across Punjab in fake cases — following a huge turnout of Sikhs for Khalistan Referendum in two cities of Australia over the last two months.

Pro-Khalistan SFJ, the secessionist group — which is running the Khalistan Referendum campaign — has said that more than 300 Khalistan Referendum supporters have been detained under sedition laws in India and there were over 1000 raids on supporters of Sikhs For Justice in the week prior to the Indian government’s crackdown on Amritpal and his supporters.


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Ayan Khan

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