US State Dept Seeks Dismissal Of Lawsuit To Declare RSS A Terror Group

15/04/2015 12:21 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Volunteers of the militant Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) perform Surya Namaskar or sun salutation during the concluding ceremony of its three day long karyakarta shibir, or workers’ conclave on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, India, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015. The RSS, parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, combines religious education with self-defense exercises. The organization has long been accused of stoking religious hatred against Muslims. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

NEW YORK — The US State Department has asked a court here to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Sikh rights group for declaring India's RSS as a "terror group" saying it has no standing.

In an 18-page motion filed Tuesday before judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York, US attorney Preet Bharara said Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) lacks standing to bring such claims.

Even if SFJ had standing, the political question doctrine bars judicial review where the Secretary of State has not designated an organisation, it said.

"Neither SFJ nor this Court possesses authority to compel the Secretary to designate an entity as a foreign terrorist organisation-a discretionary action that implicates important foreign affairs and national security considerations, and which is entrusted to the political branches," the motion added.

SFJ has filed a lawsuit in the US court to label the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as a foreign terrorist organisation.

It accuses RSS of "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".

"Political question doctrine cannot trump the fundamental human rights of protection of life and liberty which are embedded in the American constitution," SFJ attorney Gurpatwant S Pannun said.

SFJ will challenge the US Government's bid to block the labelling of RSS as "terror group", he said.

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