[JURIST] The American Justice Center on Thursday filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of anonymous survivors against India Prime Minister Narendra Modi [personal website] in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] for human rights abuses [complaint, PDF] stemming from the religious riots in Gujarat [JURIST news archive] in 2002. Modi was chief minister of Gujarat when Hindu mobs rioted through Muslim neighborhoods [AP report], killing more than 1,000 Muslims. The lawsuit seeks damages against Modi under the Alien Tort Claims Act [text] and the Torture Victim Protection Act [PDF].
Modi was elected prime minister [Guardian report] of India in May in a landslide victory. The election of the Hindu nationalist and 282 members of his conservative Bharatiya Janata Party [official website] was called historic, as no party has won by such a margin since 1984. Since his election 13 of his 45 ministers have been charged with criminal offenses. Eight of them are accused of serious offenses. The Supreme Court held last July that convicted MPs would be immediately disqualified from serving the House [Hindu report] without being given time for appeal. Prior to this ruling, convicted members could preserve their positions by filing appeals.