A preliminary hearing for the civil lawsuit in the United States seeking compensation for the victims of the 1984 pogroms against Sikhs in India is scheduled on September 21. The group Sikhs for Justice intends to show that these pogroms were organized by government officials within the Congress Party of India. This civil suit is based on two federal laws: the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) of 1789 and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) of 1991.
A defendant in the case is Kamal Nath, who has claimed diplomatic immunity from the proceedings. On April 2010, Nath was served with a summons to appear while on a business mission to the United States, but this past July, he claimed diplomatic immunity from the proceedings of the case.
However, Sikhs for Justice has now filed a response to that claim, requesting a subpoena for Nath to appear:
“Since Kamal Nath’s statements regarding summons from the US court are self-contradictory and misleading, SFJ is going to ask Judge Sweet to issue a subpoena forcing Kamal Nath to appear before the US District Court and testify on this issue,” Pannun told PTI.
Sikhs for Justice believes that Nath does not qualify for immunity based on international law:
“Granting diplomatic immunity to Nath will be in clear violation of UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) which categorically denies immunity as a defence to the crime of genocide and mandates prosecution,” Pannun said.
Justice has been denied to the thousands victims of the massacre of Sikhs that occured in India almost 27 years ago. Those believed to have been responsible have eluded being held to account for their actions. With the pursuit of justice for this tragedy now being played out in US court and away from the obfuscation and interference of the Indian government and judicial system, many Sikhs are watching the events of this case with much interest. .
It is expected that a ruling on Nath’s status in this trial will be made at this preliminary hearing in September.