A United States court on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the Hindutva group Hindu American Foundation against four activists and historian Audrey Truschke for two articles published in Al Jazeera.
“The Hindu American Foundation’s SLAPP lawsuit against me and four other defendants is dismissed by Judge Mehta! I’ll comment more in the coming weeks, but this is a win against the far right!,” tweeted Truschke.
The Columbia court noted that it “cannot plausibly infer that any of their [Truschke and others] statements were made with actual malice.”
The Al Jazeera articles, published in April 2021, claimed that federal coronavirus relief funding amounting to $833,000 had been given to the Hindu American Foundation and four other Hindutva foundations based in US.
The US-based right wing group had filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on 7 May last year. Besides Truschke, it had sued Indian American Muslim Council Executive Director Rasheed Ahmed, Hindus for Human Rights co-founders Sunita Viswanath and Raju Rajagopal and Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America chairman John Prabhudoss.
Sunita Viswanath, Rasheed Ahmed and John Prabhudoss had been quoted in the Al Jazeera articles, while Audrey Truschke was named in the suit for tweeting about the story and the Hindu American Foundation.
The author of one Al Jazeera article and prominent young Muslim journalist Raqib Hameed Naik, was named as a co-conspirator in the lawsuit.
“A federal judge in Washington DC has dismissed a frivolous lawsuit filed by rightwing group Hindu American Foundation over one of my stories published in Al Jazeera last year. HAF had sued 5 people & named me as a co-conspirator,” Raqib tweeted.
The Court order has alot of references to the RSS, PM Narendra Modi’s government, and info on the Hindu American Foundation, said Raqib.