US Court To Hear Sikh Massacre Case Against Congress On March 19, Jurisdiction Major Issue

JALANDHAR: A US Court is scheduled to hear human rights violation case against Congress (I) on March 19 pertaining to massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and other cities of the country in November 1984. Federal Judge Robert W. Sweet will hear the arguments of the Congress (I) and US based rights group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) regarding US Court’s extra-territorial jurisdiction to conduct the trial against India’s ruling party.

While Congress is seeking dismissal of the rights violation case before the US Court due to lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; failure to state a claim; expiry of statute of limitation; and SJF’s legal standing to file the case, the complainant SFJ has argued that the subject matter jurisdiction is being invoked on the grounds that Plaintiffs have been granted refugee status in the US for being victims of November 1984 violence organized by the Congress party.

SFJ had accused Congress (I) of conspiring, aiding, abetting, organizing and carrying out attacks on the Sikh population of India after assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The case of genocidal violence against the ruling party of India was filed by two victims of November 1984 violence and SFJ under the Alien Torts Statute (ATS) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), which grants jurisdiction to US Courts to hear the human rights violation cases committed outside United States if there is a connection between the tort committed and the United States.

Even as SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has said that victims of November 1984 had a strong case because the evidence proved that 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 with the apparent or actual authority of the government of India but the challenge at this stage remains to prove the maintainability and jurisdiction of the case in US court.

In case the complainants get a favourable order they are mulling to present the evidence before the US court that the ruling party of India taking responsibility for the deaths of the Sikh population after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, released more $50 Million Dollars as the compensation to the affected families. “The documentation shows that more than 37000 claims for deaths and injuries were filed by the victims of November 1984,” Pannun said.

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