Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada next week, a Sikh rights group has filed a complaint with the country’s Attorney General, seeking criminal proceedings against him for alleged offences during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat.
The Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) has filed the 16-page complaint asking the Canadian Attorney General and minister of justice Peter Mackay to “bring charges or to consent to charges” being sought against Modi for allegedly “aiding and abetting” the violence against Muslims during the 2002 riots in Gujarat when he was the chief minister.
The same group had filed a lawsuit in connection with the 2002 riots against Modi when he had visited the US last year in September.
The US, however, had said that Modi is immune from the human rights violation lawsuit since he is the sitting head of a foreign government.
The SFJ said Canadian law provides for prosecution of individuals who commit acts of torture outside Canada and are present in the country at some time.
SFJ attorney Marlys Edward said state immunity did not prevent the Canadian authorities from charging and trying Modi for torture and genocide.
“Since Modi continues to enjoy immunity in India, we are invoking the Canadian law to hold him accountable for gross human rights violations. Unlike India, Canada does not let violence against religious minorities go unpunished,” SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said.
Modi will travel to Canada next week, marking the first standalone visit by an Indian Prime Minister in more than 42 years. The last such visit took place in 1973.