84 Anti-Sikh riots: Nath denies inciting violence

New York: Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath has rejected allegations of his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in a US court, and claimed diplomatic immunity in the case.

"I expressly reject the allegations contained in the Affidavit of Service (of Yoselin Genao)," he told a New York court in an affidavit this week.
Nath said that he never received court summons informing him of the complaint filed against him in connection with 1984 anti-Sikh Riots.

The complaint against him stated that the "The defendant was seen and heard by many on the scene of Gurudwara Rakab Ganj. In this particular incident defendant was leading and in control of a mob of about four thousand people."

Nath has repeatedly denied any involvement and has been cleared by the Nanavati Inquiry Commission, which described the Minister`s testimony as "vague" but concluded that there was no evidence that he had incited a mob.

He said that he never received summons at the Indian Consulate where the plaintiff`s say he was handed summons.

"Neither Ms. Genao or anyone else ever served me with the summons and the complaint on the street in front of the Consulate of India as alleged," Nath said.

In his affidavit, Nath makes the case that plaintiff lacks standing and he has immunity. He noted that the Government of India had not waived his diplomatic immunity in connection with this case.

Nath said that no action or proceedings had been initiated against him in India or anywhere else. "Proceedings have been initiated against others in India, over the years and findings against other individuals have been made," he said.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which filed the suit seeking compensation, said that any adult in the US can serve the summons and Genao did it outside the consulate.

In response, Nath said that we went to Gurudwara Rakabganj to get the violence under control until additional police arrived.

"My official responsibilities in this official role were to act as a representative of the people of my constituency and discharge my responsibilities as an elected member of Parliament," he said.

Pannun said that Nath had already acknowledged receiving summons in the media.

The plaintiffs will present to the court, newspaper reports, videos footage and witnesses affirming Nath`s acknowledgment of receipt of summons on April 06, 2010.

During an interview with a news agency at the time, Nath had said, "I really have no clue about it. I don`t have a basis and I don`t know the authenticity. I don`t know the validity. It was for the first time that I saw it."

These remarks were made after a reporter got up in the middle of a press conference at the Indian consulate and handed him a copy of the complaint.

Sikhs for Justice has also named the Indian Congress Party as co-defendants.