The US-based organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) will file a defamation suit there against Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh for accusing it of playing into the hands of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
In response to SFJ’s filing of a case of torture in Canada that forced Amarinder to cancel his Toronto and Vancouver visits, the Amritsar MP had on April 23 stated that the SFJ was “playing into the hands of the anti-India forces like the ISI to embarrass India and project as if rights violations was the norm of the day in the country (India) like some dictatorships in different parts of the world”.
Rebutting, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to the SFJ, said in a statement emailed to HT on Monday: “SFJ is an independent human rights advocacy group with a mission to promote Sikhs’ right to self-determination and is seeking a referendum in the state of Punjab.”
The defamation suit will be filed in the Federal Court of California, a state that Amarinder is scheduled to visit during his tour of the United States aimed at wooing Punjabi NRIs ahead of the assembly polls due early next year, it is learnt. California’s defamation law provides that an organisation can bring a case against an individual as long as statements are reasonably understood to refer to the organisation in question; and in this case Amarinder openly named and accused SFJ, noted the group.
Amarinder had also urged the government of India to “rise above political considerations” and take up the matter with the Canadian government “at the highest level”. The earlier case, filed in Canada, pertains to the alleged torture of a Sikh man when Amarinder was the Punjab CM.