After petition by outfit charging party with ‘conspiring and abetting' organised attacks against Sikhs

A U.S. court has issued summons to the Indian National Congress in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, acting on a Sikh rights group's petition charging it with “conspiring, aiding and abetting” organised attacks against the community.

A federal district court in New York issued summons to India's ruling party in a class action lawsuit filed by the ‘Sikhs for Justice,' which has offices in New York and India.

The Sikh group has charged the Congress with “conspiring, aiding, abetting and carrying out organised attacks on the Sikh population of India in November 1984.”

Pre-trial stage

The proceedings are still at the pre-trial stage in New York.

Senior Congress leader and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath is a defendant in the lawsuit.

The complaint against Mr. Kamal Nath stated, “The defendant was seen and heard by many on the scene of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj [in New Delhi]. In this particular incident, defendant was leading and in control of a mob of about 4,000 people.”

Kamal Nath on the defensive

Mr. Kamal Nath has repeatedly denied any involvement and has been cleared by the Nanavati Inquiry Commission, which had described the Minister's testimony as “vague” but concluded that there was no evidence that he had incited a mob.

A statement issued by the Sikhs for Justice said that the killings could not be described as riots and they were not confined to Delhi alone, but were allegedly led by Congress leaders in 18 States and 100 cities. “The gravity, scale and specially the organised nature of these attacks was concealed by the Indian governments' portraying them as ‘November 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots of Delhi,'” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to Sikhs for Justice, said.

3,926 Sikhs killed

According to the government of India's record, as many as 3,296 Sikhs were killed while 35,535 claims for deaths and injuries were received throughout India, the group said.