Sikh group files lawsuit seeking info on Modi’s visa

New York: A US-based Sikh rights group has filed a lawsuit against the State Department seeking release of documents relating to the Obama administration’s decision to lift the visa ban on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that had facilitated his visit to the United States last year.

Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) filed the lawsuit challenging the failure of the State Department to produce the documents in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records from June 2013 regarding visa and entry to Modi.

Seeking injunctive relief, SFJ blames the State Department for “excessive delay” in producing the records relating to Modi’s entry as sought under FOIA.

The Department has 60 days to respond to the complaint.

The complaint said that in around 2005 the State Department had revoked a previously issued visa to Modi.

“Since Narendra Modi has now been allowed to enter the United States, through the FOIA request, the plaintiff seeks the production of all the records in possession” of (State Department) related to his visa,and entry into the country, including all correspondence originated or received by the Obama administration.

“It is right of the Americans to know the reasons why Obama administration after censuring Narendra Modi for more than a decade, now condones the acts of violence committed by former Chief Minister of Gujarat,” legal advisor to SFJ attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said.

He said with Modi arriving in the US later this month on his second visit as the Indian Prime Minister, “we are forced to pursue legal course to obtain documents” from the Obama administration.

In August last year, SFJ had filed a request under FOIA demanding release of seven key categories of documents relating to the decisions by the Bush and Obama administration to ban and facilitate Modi’s entry into the US. (PTI)