US court summons secy John Kerry in a petition to designate RSS as a terror group

New York City(AFP): In a declaratory lawsuit filed by a US based rights group to designate Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), a US Court has summoned US Secretary of state John Kerry to submit a reply within 60 days.

The summons were issued by the District Court of Southern District of New York to secretary Kerry on Wednesday on a complaint filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which had earlier filed a complaint of rights violation and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress party for protecting perpetrators of November 1984 massacre of Sikhs.

The complaint has sought from the court to designate RSS as a FTO “for 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”.

The case has been assigned to Judge Swain. Since the defendant in this case is United States, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure USDOS has 60 days to respond to the complaint.

The lawsuit seeking FTO status for RSS comes at a time when President Obama will be visiting India to attend the nation’s 65th Republic Day celebrations on January 26.

It has mentioned “Ghar Wapsi” programme of Sangh affiliates to reconvert Muslims and Christians while comparing it to “convert or die” call of Boko Haram, the Nigerian terror outfit. The complaint also mentions demolition of Babri mosque, Gujarat riots of 2002, killing of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse and his glorification apart from ban imposed on it by Indian government thrice. It has also quoted RSS leaders saying that all Indian were Hindus, a statement by former Indian home secretary and Rahul Gandhi saying it a bigger threat than LeT.

The declaratory lawsuit requests the court that “RSS along with its affiliates and subsidiaries be designated as an FTO, in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and designate RSS as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224”.

The 26 page complaint by human rights group SFJ alleges “crimes of RSS targeting the religious minorities of India include but not limited to, instigating June 1984 military attack against holiest Sikh shrine the Golden Temple resulting in desecration of the temple and massacre of thousands of pilgrims; 1992 demolition of historical Babri Mosque; burning of Churches and rape of Christian nuns in Orissa and elsewhere during 2008; 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujarat; attack on several other places of worship belonging to different religious minorities; bombing of public places such as trains and buses”.

On the basis of July 2014 report “Hindu Nationalism In The United States”, the complaint alleges that a movement towards “Hinduizing India” is being funded by non-profit groups in the United States.

Justifying the designation of RSS as FTO, SFJ’s legal advisor, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, stated that “minorities were being targeted by RSS with new zeal ever since Modi became Prime Minister, to accomplish its agenda of turning India into a Hindu nation.