D.C. court dismisses US-based Hindu group’s defamation case against activists
A Washington, D.C. court dismissed a flimsy defamation lawsuit filed by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) against academic Audrey Truschke and four activists, including Indian American Muslim Council Executive Director Rasheed Ahmed, for providing quotes critical of HAF in two Al Jazeera articles.
In the articles, which were published in 2021, the defendants stated that Hindu American Foundation, along with four other US-based Hindu groups, has “ties to Hindu supremacist and religious groups,” labeling HAF as one of five “US-based front organizations for Hindutva, the supremacist ideology that is the driving force behind much of the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Dalits and other minorities in India.”
The verdict stated that the court “cannot plausibly infer that any of their [Truschke and others] statements were made with actual malice.”
“HAF [Hindu American Foundation] fails to plead actual malice and thus fails to state a claim of defamation against all defendants,” United States District Judge Amit P. Mehta stated in the verdict, adding that the Hindu American Foundation had failed to “present evidence satisfying the constitutional requirement of due process.”
Aside from Truschke and Ahmed, HAF sued Hindus for Human Rights co-founders Sunita Viswanath and Raju Rajagopal, as well as Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) chairman John Prabhudoss.