[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, agreeing with the US State Department [official websites] that he is entitled to immunity from lawsuits in US courts. The lawsuit, filed by the American Justice Center (AJC) [advocacy website], claimed [complaint, PDF] that Modi failed to stop a 2002 riot that claimed the lives of 1,000 Muslims in the state of Gujarat after the burning of a train carrying 58 Hindu pilgrims. The ruling [Reuters report] came down just before US President Barack Obama is set to attend India’s Republic Day Celebration on January 26.
Modi was sued [JURIST report] in September by the AJC on behalf of unnamed survivors of violence in India. Modi was elected [Guardian report] prime minister in May with 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. The Supreme Court held last July that convicted MPs would be immediately disqualified from serving, without being given time for appeal. Prior to this ruling, convicted members could preserve their positions by filing appeals.