US Seeks to Dismiss Complaint by Sikh Group Against RSS, Kerry

Yoshita Singh/New York
US Seeks to Dismiss Complaint by Sikh Group Against RSS, Kerry

The US government is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Secretary of State John Kerry by a Sikh rights group that wants India's RSS to be designated as a "foreign terrorist organisation" and has summoned the top American diplomat in the case.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara has requested Judge Laura Taylor Swain that more time be granted to the government to respond to the 26-page complaint filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

The rights groups had filed the lawsuit in January asking the court here to designate Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a "foreign terrorist organisation."

The lawsuit accused RSS of "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."

Kerry, named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had been summoned in the case and was given two months’ time to respond.

The government's deadline to respond to the complaint was March 24 and Bharara has asked time till April 14 to file its motion.

"In lieu of an answer, the government intends to move to dismiss the Complaint, and requires additional time to finalise its motion and supporting papers," Bharara said.

SFJ said that since the filing of the lawsuit, several instances of violence against Christians in India, including burning of a church and rape of a nun, have been reported in the media, stated attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Pannun said the group will "amend" the complaint to include the "increased threats and continuous use of violence  against the religious minorities."

The declaratory lawsuit requests the court that "RSS along with its affiliates and subsidiaries be designated as an Foreign Terrorist Organisation...And designate RSS as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity (SDGT)."

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