Washington: A US federal judge has set an evidentiary hearing for January 29 in a human rights violations case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to resolve basic jurisdictional issues. Wisconsin Judge Rudolph T Randa set the hearing on a plea by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) seeking the court's protection against alleged intimidation, threats and abuse to the families of the plaintiffs in India by Badal's agents.
Badal through his lawyers has sought dismissal of the case on the ground of lack of service of summons after two special Agents from State Department's Diplomatic Security Service claimed in sworn statements that Badal was not present at Oak Creek High School on August 9 as claimed by the plaintiffs.
During evidentiary hearing, plaintiffs will challenge Badal's claim that on August 9, he was at Boelter Super Store in Milwaukee and was not present at Oak Creek High School where a ceremony was being held in the memory of the Sikh victims of Wisconsin Gurudwara shooting, SFJ said.
To refute Badal's claim, plaintiffs will present evidence and witnesses to prove that Badal was personally served the court summons by Christopher G Kratochvil, a professional process server from "State Processing Service Inc" at Oak Creek High School, Wisconsin.
SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun described Randa's order as "a major step forward in seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Badal for his role in commanding and protecting a police force involved in continuous human rights violations against Sikhs in the State of Punjab". The plaintiffs in the case are SFJ, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) headed by Simranjit Singh Mann and several individuals who were allegedly tortured during the Badal regime.