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Reply to charges of abetting 1984 anti-Sikh riots: US court to Congress

world Updated: Mar 23, 2011 13:21 IST

The Congress party has been asked to respond by April 1 to "summons" issued by a US court to answer charges of "conspiring, aiding, abetting and organizing" attacks on Sikhs in November 1984.

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued the summons on March 1 in response to a class action law suit filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a US based human rights group, along with several Sikh witnesses and survivors of the 1984 attacks.

"If the Congress party did not respond to the summons of the US Federal Court by April 1, 2011, SFJ will ask the court to enter a default against Congress (I)," SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said on Tuesday.

The default judgement against Congress (I) will give the victims of November 1984 an opportunity to seek compensatory and punitive damages from Congress (I) for the party's role in "genocidal attack" on Sikhs during November 1984, he said.

The default judgment against Congress (I) will also pave the way for filing criminal complaints against the party leadership under various international laws for violation of human rights, Pannun said.

In US, criminal prosecution of Congress (I) leadership will be sought under the "Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009" which specifically gives jurisdiction to the US Courts to prosecute foreign nationals who are suspected of committing crimes against humanity, he said.