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US appeals court to hear 1984 case against Sonia Gandhi for protecting perpetrators of violence against Sikhs

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Sonia-Gandhi

New York: A US federal appeals court in Manhattan has set August 18 for oral arguments in a case filed by a Sikh rights group against Congress party chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The lawsuit filed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) accuses Sonia Gandhi of shielding, protecting and rewarding the perpetrators of violence against Sikhs in November 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The court is set to hear the oral arguments on whether the 1984 claims are barred under US Supreme Court case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.

It would also hear arguments on if two individuals Jasbir Singh and Mohender Singh are proper plaintiffs on behalf of their family members and whether rights group has associational standing to file the lawsuit.

In June 2014, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Sonia Gandhi ruling that she is not liable under Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and that the plaintiffs have no standing to bring the lawsuit.

In their appeal, SFJ and 1984 victims invoked the principle of international law that “those who cover up a crime are just as guilty as the ones who commit it”.

The allegations against Sonia Gandhi include shielding and protecting Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and other Congress party leaders.

“We have a strong argument that US Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum does not bar the law suit against human rights violators when the victims have no other recourse,” said SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

In September 2013, a class action suit was filed against Sonia Gandhi by SFJ and victims of 1984 under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). (IANS)

 

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More Power Given to Congress State Units For 2019 Battle

The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a "charge-sheet" about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy

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Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
Congress state units given more power for 2019 battle- wikimedia commons

Bracing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has accorded more powers and autonomy to its state units in deciding candidates as well as strategising for publicity and coordination.

According to informed sources, in a meeting of the Congress core committee with state presidents held on Thursday in the national capital, the central leadership asked the state units to fill up vacancies in block and district committees at the earliest besides identifying probable candidates for the 2019 mega battle in the respective states.

“Keeping in view that there will be state-specific alliances and electoral understandings, the state units have been asked to identify potential seats that can be spare for the allies. The emphasis is also on reaching out to the grassroots and build connect with the masses at booth levels,” said a party source.

The source also said that the central leadership harped on finalising the candidate lists providing ample time for discussions on seat sharing with probable allies.

Besides the national issues including the Rafale deal, agrarian distress and unemployment, the state units have also been given a say to have local issues accommodated in the party manifesto for 2019.

credit: www.indiawires.com

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has constituted a 19-member Manifesto Committee to chalk out the manifesto for the general elections.

The source also said that the state units have been asked to prepare a “charge-sheet” about the Modi government and its policies, particularly issues affecting the economy.

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Gandhi has already constituted a nine-member “core committee” to supervise and organise the party’s preparations for general elections that includes party veterans like A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge.

With the party persistently raising the issue of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs), state units have also been asked to organise workshops to educate the party workers about the functioning of the machines and guard against any malpractices. (IANS)