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1984: Sikhs to ask US court to subpoena Nath
PTI
New York, August 21, 2011
First Published: 12:53 IST(21/8/2011)
Last Updated: 12:56 IST(21/8/2011)

A Sikh human rights group in New York will ask a US court to subpoena minister for urban development Kamal Nath in a case filed against him for his alleged role in the 1984 riots, when a judge hears on September 21 arguments regarding his claim to diplomatic immunity.

The outfit 'Sikhs for Justice' (SFJ), which has filed the case against Nath, said the Minister's claim to 'special mission diplomatic immunity' is "baseless because he has no support from the US Department of State."

The group's legal adviser, attorney Gurpatwant Pannun, said Judge Robert Sweet of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of New York will hold an "in person hearing" on September 21 to "record legal arguments and examine the evidence regarding Kamal Nath's claim of diplomatic immunity."

"Since Kamal Nath's statements regarding summons from the US court are self-contradictory and misleading, SFJ is going to ask Judge Sweet to issue a subpoena forcing Kamal Nath to appear before the US District Court and testify on this issue," Pannun told PTI.

He said that SFJ would also urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to "sack" Nath.

Pannun said Nath had attended a US-India business conference in April 2010 when he was served with summons.

Nath was invited to the event not by the US government but by a private company.

Additionally, Nath has "failed" to obtain 'Statement of Interest' from the US State Department in his support for immunity from prosecution in US federal court, Pannun said.

"Granting diplomatic immunity to Nath will be in clear violation of UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) which categorically denies immunity as a defence to the crime of genocide and mandates prosecution," Pannun said.

The summons were issued on April 6, 2010 against Nath in a lawsuit, which sought compensatory and punitive damages for his alleged role in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

Responding to the summons of the US federal court, Nath has claimed diplomatic immunity as he was on a special mission to New York in April 2010 when he was served the summons.

Sikhs for Justice filed its eight-page response on August 12 in US District Court, Southern District of New York to Nath's efforts to seek immunity.


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