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US lawsuit demands Indian RSS to be declared a 'terrorist organization'

NEW YORK: Sikh activists said they filed a lawsuit Wednesday in New York demanding the United States blacklist India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a terrorist organization.

RSS is a hardline Hindu group linked to India’s ruling party.

The federal court issued a summons for US Secretary of State John Kerry to respond to the suit within 60 days, according to court papers sent to AFP by US-based advocacy group “Sikhs For Justice.”

The 26-page complaint likened Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to Nigeria’s armed group Boko Haram.

It held the RSS, the ideological mentor of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), responsible for instigating multiple acts of violence.

Activists accused RSS of “running a passionate, vicious and violent campaign to turn India into a ‘Hindu’ nation with a homogeneous religious and cultural identity.”

The lawsuit comes with US President Barack Obama to be guest of honor at India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26.

India is a secular country under the constitution and religious freedom is considered a fundamental right.

But critics say Hindu hardline groups have become emboldened since the BJP was elected, promoting a Hindu-dominant agenda.

Sikhs for Justice is a small non-profit group that Pannun said was backed by “most” of the estimated 500,000 Sikhs who live in the United States- AFP

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