NEW YORK - A Sikh civil rights group has filed a lawsuit in New York demanding the United States designate as a “foreign terrorist organization” Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an Indian hardline Hindu group linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The federal court on Wednesday issued a summons for US Secretary of State John Kerry to respond to the suit within 60 days, according to court papers sent to the news media  by US-based “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ).

The 26-page complaint, which comes as President Barack Obama prepares to leave for a trip to India,  held the RSS, the ideological mentor of Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s Hindu nationalist BJP, responsible for instigating multiple acts of violence

“RSS along with its affiliates and subsidiaries be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisation and designate RSS as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity (SDGT)”.

Accusing the RSS of targeting minorities, the complaint alleged RSS’ involvement in the “demolition of Babri Masjid”, “instigating” army operation against  the Golden Temple in 1984, “burning of Churches and rape of Christian nuns” in 2008 and the anti-Muslim Gujarat riots in 2002.

Justifying the designation of RSS as a terrorist organization, SFJ’s legal advisor, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, said in a statement that while Sikhs have been stripped off their religious identity through Article 25(b) of the Constitution of India, which labels “Sikhs” as “Hindus”, Christian and Muslim communities are being targeted by RSS with new zeal ever since Modi became the prime minister, to accomplish its agenda of turning India into a “Hindu” nation.

“In case of RSS, instead of following the law, the Obama administration is warming up to BJP-ruled India ignoring the serious concerns over the persecution of religious minorities,”  attorney Pannun added.