1984 Victims Get Till September To Amend Complaint

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (TIP): Judge Robert W. Sweet in a pre-trial conference granted “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ) till September to amend the human rights violation complaint against Indian National Congress party to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. In Kiobel case, Supreme Court held that foreign entities can be liable in US Court for atrocities committed overseas only under the limited circumstances.

Sikhs For Justice announced to amend the complaint to include documentation showing the connection between Congress party of India and its US based affiliated organizations to qualify the pending human rights violations lawsuit for exercise of US Court’s Jurisdiction as ruled in Kioble case.

The lawsuit filed by SFJ alleges that in November 1984 Congress party had “virtually complete control over governance of the country and as the ruling political party was able to pursue a policy of genocide against the Sikhs under color of state law and with the apparent or actual authority of the government of India”. The May 29 hearing was of great importance to Congress-I who was hoping to get an order dismissing Sikh right group’s complaint on the basis of Supreme Court’s ruling in Kiobel case.

The Congress is facing the charges of conspiring, aiding, abetting, organizing and carrying out attacks on the Sikh population of India during November 1984. While Judge Sweet was holding a closed door hearing, about 50 Sikhs gathered outside the Federal Court House in Manhattan to show solidarity with the 1984 victims and to express Sikh community’s determination to pursue justice at the international forums.

According to attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, “due to continuous practice of impunity by the successive Indian governments towards the perpetrators of November 1984 Sikh Genocide, the victims are forced to approach the US Court in pursuit of justice”. Through this lawsuit Congress-I’s role in organizing genocidal attacks against a religious minority and subsequent cover up of terming it as “anti-Sikh riots” will be exposed before the international community, added attorney Pannun.

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Mohinder Singh, who now lives in California and is one of the complainants against Congress (I) in US Court stated that he lost his father and two uncles during 1984 Sikh Genocide and this is irony of Indian law that victims are being asked by the Courts to find the witnesses and the ones who killed thousands of Sikhs in broad day light.

If victims are to find witnesses against Congress leaders involved in genocide of Sikhs, then what the Indian investigating agencies are doing for the last thirty years, Questioned Mohinder Singh. SFJ along with 1984 victims filed the pending rights violation lawsuit against Congress-I {SFJ v. INC 10-cv- 2940 RWS} under Alien Torts Statute (ATS) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

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