After hearing arguments on the Congress party’s challenge to ‘extraterritorial jurisdiction’ of US courts, Manhattan’s US Federal Judge Robert W Sweet reserved his ruling on Wednesday.

The Congress argued that respecting India's sovereignty, US Court should decline to hear the case as the party could not be held liable in a US court for ‘acts occurring in India nearly three decades ago, involving only residents of India, with no plausible nexus to United States’.

If this case is allowed to continue, it will be a frontal attack on India's sovereignty, it said.

Urging Sweet to continue with the 1984 case, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) Attorney Michael Fitzgerald said the 1984 violence was not an accident or coincidence but a plan to eliminate the Sikhs.

The death of 3000 Sikhs in the 1984 violence cannot be characterised as ‘elimination’ countered the Congress pointing out that millions of Sikhs live in India and a Sikh is the Prime Minister of India since 2004.

Challenging the Congress party's contention that the 1984 case is ‘time barred’ under US laws, Fitzgerald argued that Sikh rights’ violation is a ‘continuing offense’ because Congress still provides impunity to perpetrators of the 1984 violence.

In March 2011, a US court had issued summons against the Congress in the class action lawsuit filed by SFJ under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act.

(Agencies)

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