1984 riots: US court gives Cong 2 weeks to respond

Sikhs for Justice has charged Congress party with conspiring, aiding, abetting, organising, carrying out attacks on Sikhs in 1984.

New York: A US Federal Court has granted India`s Congress party an extension of two weeks to respond to a motion for "default judgment" for its failure to defend charges relating to November 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Judge Robert Sweet, who was scheduled to hear the motion filed by "Sikhs for Justice" (SFJ), a US-based community group on Thursday, granted the extension on a submission by Jones Day, a law firm retained by the Congress.

SFJ has charged the Congress party with conspiring, aiding, abetting, organising and carrying out attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984 following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Congress party attorney Thomas E Lynch on Monday wrote a letter to Judge Sweet requesting an adjournment of the hearing so as to allow him time to review the relevant facts and to prepare a response to the SFJ motion.

Sweet will now hear SFJ`s motion for a judgment by default against Congress on March 29.

However, Sweet has ruled that SFJ must refile claims against Indian Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath for his alleged role in the 1984 as (SFJ) had failed to properly serve the summons on him when it filed the case in April 2010.

Dismissing the complaint without prejudice, Sweet gave the plaintiffs right to refile the charges against Kamal Nath and properly serve the defendant.

The plaintiff`s are demanding that a judgment by default be entered against the Congress party and that an evidentiary hearing be scheduled in order to determine the amount of compensatory and punitive damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs.