9:31 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Kerry facing summons on lawsuit for designating RSS

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Kerry likens Kim Jong Un to Saddam Hussein
Kerry likens Kim Jong Un to Saddam Hussein

A U.S. court has issued a summons to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for his response within 60 days to a lawsuit demanding that Indian party Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) be designated a “foreign terrorist organisation.”

Judge Laura Swain of the District Court of the Southern District of New York said in her summons that Mr. Kerry was required to answer the “declaratory lawsuit” filed by Sikhs For Justice, a human rights group that had earlier filed a case against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging culpability for his role in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, which occurred when Mr. Modi was the Chief Minister of the state.

That case was dismissed earlier this month when a judge of the same court affirmed that a “sitting head of state’s immunity from jurisdiction is based on the Executive Branch’s determination of official immunity without regard to the specific conduct alleged,” effectively that Mr. Modi enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

This week’s lawsuit, which acquires significance in the context of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India over the weekend to join its Republic Day celebrations, called for the FTO designation for the RSS “for believing in and practicing a fascist ideology and for running a passionate, vicious and violent campaign to turn India into a ‘Hindu’ nation with a homogeneous religious and cultural identity.”

In its 26-page complaint SFJ alleged that the “crimes of RSS” included the targeting of religious minorities of India Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, citing incidents of violence against these groups in Gujarat, Punjab and Orissa, respectively.

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