NEW YORK : A pro-Khalistan Sikh rights group has reportedly obtained an order from a United States judge to be served on Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi at a local hospital, where she is stated to be under medical care, in a case filed against her for “shielding and protecting” party leaders allegedly involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. A class action suit against Gandhi was filed by Sikhs for Justice, a US-based human rights group, along with victims of the November 1984 under Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act. SFJ legal counsel Gurpatwant said federal court Judge  order further directs the hospital and security staff to give summons and complaint to Mrs. Gandhi personally in New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre where she is reported to be under medical care or the security personnel assigned to her.

Sixty-six year-old Gandhi, who had undergone a surgery in New York for an undisclosed ailment on August 5, 2011, had flown here for a check-up in February and again on September 2 last year. Last week the same court had issued summons for Ms. Gandhi on a complaint made by SFJ on behalf of two victims, Jasbir Singh and Mohinder Singh, who have alleged that Ms. Gandhi is protecting and shielding Congress leaders involved in attacks on Sikhs during 1984.

Pannun, the legal advisor of the SFJ, was cited as saying in press reports that the latest order should send a message to those who believe that they could evade service of US Court summons by virtue of their high political positions. “Times have changed and this is a wake up call for Indian politicians that they cannot evade internationally accepted norms of justice.

Unlike judicial system of India which failed to punish the Congress leaders involved in genocidal attacks on Sikhs in 1984, US judicial system does not protect any one because of their political positions”, he said. “The order clears the air about the seriousness of the case as Congress leaders in India had been downplaying it by describing the suit as an inconsequential matter,” he added.

The complaint against Ms. Gandhi alleges that “from November 1 through November 4, 1984 approximately 30,000 members of a minority religious group known as the “Sikhs” were intentionally tortured, raped and murdered by groups that were incited, organized, controlled and armed by the Congress (I), the ruling political party”. Specifically, the SFJ and victims are seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Ms. Gandhi as president of the Congress party for her role in protecting Kamal Nath, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other Congress party leaders from being prosecuted for their alleged crimes.