Sikh group granted plea on summons to Sonia Gandhi

Sikh group granted plea on summons to Sonia Gandhi

A Sikh rights group has obtained an order from a US federal court for delivery of summons to Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, who is in New York for medical treatment, through hospital staff or security personnel assigned to her, according to the group's attorney.

US-based group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and some victims of the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence had last week obtained summons against Gandhi in a class action suit for shielding party officials allegedly involved in inciting attacks on Sikhs in November 1984.

The group, which had 120 days to deliver the summons and complaint to Gandhi, Monday obtained ex parte orders from US Federal Judge Brain M. Cogan for service of summons to Gandhi through the staff of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer, where she is believed to be under medical care, or her security detail.

According to SFJ attorney Gurpatwant S. Pannun, the group filed an emergency motion with Cogan for leave to effect alternative means of service because the process servers retained to serve Gandhi could not reach her due to her heavy security detail. SFJ's motion argued that as Gandhi is a foreigner and a high profile political figure who is the subject of heavy security, the personal service of summons as required by law is impracticable.

The suit under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) accuses Gandhi of shielding and protecting Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other Congress party leaders from being prosecuted for their alleged role in the 1984 violence.

The 27-page complaint against Gandhi alleges that between Nov 1 and 4, 1984 about 30,000 members of the Sikh community "were intentionally tortured, raped and murdered by groups that were incited, organized, controlled and armed" by the ruling Congress party.

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