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Hindus For Human Rights Wins Baseless Lawsuit by HAF

Yesterday, US District Judge Amit Mehta dismissed the Hindu American Foundation’s lawsuit against Hindus for Human Rights co-founders Sunita Viswanath and Raju Rajagopal and 3 other US activists who have spoken out against the Hindutva political ideology of Hindu nationalism.

This is a huge win for all of us who believe in religious pluralism, civil rights, and human rights! In May 2021, the Hindu American Foundation filed a lawsuit against Sunita, Raju, and 3 other defendants, with baseless accusations of "defamation and conspiracy to defame" HAF. Why did HAF sue two fellow Hindus, one Muslim, one Christian, and one university professor? This was a scare tactic intended to silence individuals and organizations who are bravely standing up to the rising force of Hindu nationalism–in the United States, India, and across the Indian diaspora. Instead, HAF's plan backfired in a spectacular fashion. In a remarkable judgment, the court dismissed HAF’s lawsuit using forceful language:

  • "HAF fails to plausibly plead that any statement made by any defendant is verifiably false."

  • "Plaintiff’s jurisdictional discovery request … amounts to a fishing expedition, is speculative, and is not made in good faith"

  • "Accordingly, this court finds that HAF fails to plead actual malice and thus fails to state a claim of defamation against all Defendants."

This lawsuit is proof that groups like the Hindu American Foundation do not represent all Hindu Americans. We were not scared into silence, and we are deeply grateful to our pro-bono lawyers at Ballard Spahr for standing with us. This dharmayuddha, or fight for justice, is not over.

[Genocide Watch note: The Alliance Against Genocide expelled the Hindu American Foundation when it sued Hindus for Human Rights. The expulsion was not only due to HAF's baseless lawsuit, but also HAF's knowing misrepresentations when HAF applied for membership in the Alliance Against Genocide. HAF claimed that it does not support the Modi regime in India or the hateful anti-Muslim doctrines of Hindutva. In fact the HAF is a propagandist for Modi and HAF actively promotes anti-Muslim Hindutva hatred in the United States.]

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