Two Kashmiri citizens have sued Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a U.>S federal court Thursday days before his appearance in Houston, Texas, alongside President Donald Trump, alleging his administration violated international law and human rights with the unilateral annexation Aug. 5 of their predominantly Muslim homeland, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.
On Sunday in Houston, Modi and Trump will speak at the “Howdy Modi” rally organized by the Texas India Forum at NRG Stadium where more than 50,000 people are expected to attend.
Justice Mohinder Singh told indica News as he traveled from California to Texas with a group of activists that he expects thousands to gather to protest in support of human rights outside the stadium in Houston on an international stage for all the world to see
“Showing Kashmiri we are with them and demanding freedom of Punjab as well,” Singh told indica.
In August, Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), withdrew Kashmir’s special status, a radical shift that intensified conflict in the Muslim-majority state and heightened tensions with Pakistan, the Chronicle reported. The region in the foothills of the Himalayas has been disputed between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947.
Indian authorities had detained up to 4,000 people in Kashmir as part of a lockdown and a communications blackout, which has included shutting down many newspapers, according to published report.
The U.S.-based Kashmiri couple who filed the lawsuit — which alleges that the actions of Modi and his government have lead to human rights violations and caused the detention, disappearance and deaths amid ongoing repression — have not been named because they fear retribution for their family back home, according to published reports. Their New York attorney, with the Kashmir Khalistan Referendum Front, plans to submit the case as a class action, the Chronicle reported.
According to published reports, Modi declined an offer by Trump to mediate a settlement between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region.
The lawsuit alleges Modi and others in his government committed extrajudicial killings, wrongful death, battery, emotional distress, crimes against humanity and inflicted “cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment” upon Kashmiris during the military exercise, according to the Houston Chronicle. The suit claims Modi and other have created a public nuisance and are guilty of negligence by not preventing the “deliberate, willful, wanton, malicious, intentional and/or oppressive” killings of Muslims in the regions of Jamuu and Kashmir.
A number of Kashmiris have been killed since the crackdown and many have unable to get medical attention, according to news reports. Indian officials have enforced a curfew, cut off communication and access to necessities, according to reports.
The suit accuses Modi of human rights violations under the The Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a U.S. federal statute that allows civil suits on U.S. soil against foreign officials suspected of committing torture or extrajudicial killing, according to the Chronicle.
The act was first used the following year by Sister Dianna Ortiz, who sued Guatemala’s Defense Minister Hector Gramajo for her abduction, rape, and torture by military forces. A federal court in Massachusetts awarded her $5 million in damages, the Chronicle reported.
India, Pakistan and China, all nuclear powers, have claimed parts of Kashmir, but India controls Chinese and Pakistani Kashmir.