US court to hear arguments against Sonia Gandhi in 1984 riots case

New York: A US appeals court will hear oral arguments in August in a lawsuit against Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

The lawsuit brought by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) alleges that Gandhi shielded and protected the perpetrators of the anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of former Prime Indian Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the oral arguments on August 18 on several issues including whether the rights group has associational standing to file the lawsuit.

In June 2014, a federal judge had dismissed the lawsuit against Gandhi ruling that SFJ has no standing to bring the lawsuit and that Gandhi is not liable under the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA) for the allegations leveled against her in the lawsuit.

The SFJ and 1984 victims in their appeal invoked the established principle of international law that "those who cover up a crime are just as guilty as the ones who commit it."

SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said victims have been granted refugee status and have a strong connection to US to satisfy the 'touch and concern' requirement.

The lawsuit was filed against Gandhi in September 2013 by SFJ and victims of the 1984 riots under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for allegedly shielding and protecting Congress party leaders who had incited violence against the Sikhs in 1984.

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