U.S. court sets Sep 21 for pre-trial in 1984 riots case

Tuesday, 31 May 2011, 06:39 Hrs
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New York: A U.S. Federal Court has set September 21 for pre-trial oral arguments in a case against urban development minister Kamal Nath and Congress for their alleged role in the November 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Judge Robert W. Sweet of US Federal Court of the Southern District of New York ordered serving of all motion papers in accordance with the stipulated briefing schedule of March 29.

The court had on March 1 issued summons against Nath and Congress in a case filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a U.S. based human rights advocacy group, and some victims of the 1984 riots under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

The class action lawsuit charges Congress party with "conspiring, aiding, abetting and carrying out organized attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984," according to SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Plaintiffs will present evidence showing how Congress party planned and organized killing of Sikhs throughout India in November 1984, how it covered the organized and systematic violence as anti-Sikh riots of Delhi; and how it's protecting the killers of Sikhs for the last 26 years, he said.

The plaintiffs will also present an affidavit from a witness who was present at an Oct 31, 1984 Congress Party meeting in which the alleged conspiracy and plans to kill Sikhs throughout India were hatched, Pannun said.

The meeting, according to the witness statement, was attended by several prominent leaders of Congress party and Chief Ministers of different states, he said.

The evidence relating to killing of Sikhs throughout India consists of official figures obtained through the Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI) showing that Sikhs were killed in the states where Congress was in power in November 1984, he said.
Source: IANS
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