Khalsa Human Rights Group
In the past authoritarian governments and
dictatorships who wished to remove individuals they considered
disruptive elements sometimes went to the trouble of staging mock
trials, on other occasions they killed the person concerned and then
stood firm or indifferent to world opinion. In the last few years
similar governments have found it more convenient, and rewarding, to
simply make the person disappear . In reality this means an individual
is taken away by the security forces (sometimes acting independently of
the government and often working undercover), and held illegally for
months or years. Allegations of torture are common, to extract
confessions and information, and the fact that so few return from their
disappeared state suggest that death is the likely outcome.
Because the abduction of the individual is never
acknowledged by the security forces, and, if found, the body is so
severely disfigured identity is impossible, this allows governments to
deny all responsibility.
The recent rise in the number of disappearance cases
has resulted in the United Nations passing a declaration which underpins
the safeguards found in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Enforced disappearance undermines the deepest values
of any society committed to respect for the rule of law, human rights
and fundamental freedoms...the systematic practice of such acts is of
the nature of a crime against humanity.... Such act of enforced
disappearance places the persons subjected thereto outside the
protection of the law and inflicts severe suffering on them and their
families. It constitutes a violation of the rules of international law
guaranteeing, the rights to recognition as a person before the law, the
right to liberty and security of person and the right not to be
subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment. It also violates or constitutes a grave threat to the right
to life. Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearance (adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, 18
To be "disappeared" in India is of particular concern
to human rights organisations. It is widely recognised that torture is
routine in every one of India's 25 states. Every day in police cells and
military barracks throughout the land pain and indignity are
deliberately inflicted by paid agents of the state (Amnesty
International, India: Torture, Rape & Deaths in Custody, 1992). This
threat of torture is substantial for prisoners who have been legally
detained and their details recorded on police charge sheets. For
disappearance victims, who do not have even this meagre security, their
detention is unacknowledged, the possibility of torture is greater, and
the likelihood of an extra-judicial execution is almost inevitable.
The scenario for a disappearance case is familiar.
Plain-clothed police officers or members of the paramilitary forces stop
a man in the street ( disappearance victims are almost always young men
who are suspected of being members or having support for one of India's
many armed militant groups), or they may pick him up from his place of
work or his home. Often the abduction is done at night, but the disregard
for the law and the lack of political will to eradicate these practices
means the security forces are equally protected if the abduction takes
place in broad daylight.
The officers demand, at the point of a gun, that you
enter their vehicle, which is unmarked and has blacked-out windows. They
do not have an arrest warrant, and because they are not operating in
uniform, there is no way of challenging them. The victim is then taken
to an unmarked 'safe house'. As he is bundled into the house, manacled
and blindfolded, no one makes a note of his arrival. He is like an
insect that has crawled under the door, and like an insect the officers
think his absence, and possibly his death, will no t be significant;
they can do what they like with him.
Many cases of disappearances result in death,
disfigured bodies found in canals, by railway tracks and roadsides are
testimony to the cover-up of state murder that is so much a part of
everyday life in some parts of India. If suspicion of the killing is
successfully laid at the feet of the police, it is often denied or
invalidated by one of two improbable excuses; that whilst trying to
escape he was shot or that he died in an encounter. An encounter,
according to the security forces, is where a person is killed during a
clash between security personnel and armed militant groups. Members of
the security forces are allegedly ambushed and during the crossfire the
suspect is killed. It is worth noting that, according to Amnesty
International (based on newspaper reports), in 1990 alone, encounters
claimed the lives of 346 Sikh militants but only 25 police officers.
The interpretation of an encounter by human rights
groups is that a suspected militant is either arbitrarily killed or dies
as a result of severe torture and the security forces cover up the
murder by claiming the person died in an encounter. The lack of an
effective response from the Indian authorities has, not surprisingly,
accelerated the rate of disappearances. The State authorities in India
are notorious for their disregard of allegations of human rights abuses
and their unwillingness to bring to justice any member of the security
forces who has, in a court of law, found to be a perpetrator.
In their belief that prosecuting the illegal
activities of the security forces would create a loss of morale and
damage the fight against separatists movements, police, army and
government officials dismiss virtually all reports as grossly
exaggerated or false. Even when the United Nations Working Group on
Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances listed a total of 169 specific
allegations, the Indian government responded in only 35 cases (and then
the response only clarified 18 disappearances.
Finally, the trauma of disappearances has
considerable effect on the families involved. The uncertainty of ever
seeing a loved one again is demoralising, a situation often encouraged
by the police who wish to deter the family from making any official
investigation. In one such incident, that of Harjit Singh (see below),
the family were told he had been killed and that the urn which was given
to them contained his ashes. Two weeks later Kashmir Singh, Harjit's
father, saw his son shackled to the bars of a prison cell.
The extremely high number of disappearance cases
which are found in Punjab reflects the current struggle between the
waning secessionist groups and the security forces who, in their
enthusiasm to remove any root of opposition, are still illegally
detaining hundreds of people. (However, disappearances are not
exceptional to Punjab. In all areas where there are secessionist
movements- Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, and the many
tribal areas of the north-east- allegations of disappearance are
Below are cases of people who have disappeared. If
you are concerned for their plight please read the details carefully,
select one or two cases, and then write to one of the addresses at the
end of this document. (Suggestions for your letters can also be found
here.) It is worth remembering that publicity for someone who has
disappeared is, in many ways, their only chance of survival and release.
Darshan Singh (40) & Jaswinder Kaur (17) of Mohalla,
Sadavarat, Ropar City, District Ropar. It is reported that Surinder
Singh, husband of Jaswinder Kaur, visited Darshan Singh' s residence on
26 February, 1995, to see his in-laws. Shortly after his arrival the CIA
Staff Ropar visited the house to take Surinder Singh away. He escaped,
but the officers detained his wife Jaswinder Kaur, although she was not
wanted in any case.
On 6 March the CIA Staff Ropar again visited Darshan
Singh residence and took him away, again without a warrant because he
was not wanted in any case. Moreover, the house was confiscated by CIA
Staff, without a warrant, leaving Kurmit Kaur and her five remaining
children homeless. A habeas corpus petition, submitted by a human rights
lawyer, Ranjan Lakenpal, on behalf of Darshan Singh and Jaswinder Kaur,
was issued on 23 March, 1995, and a writ asking the state authorities to
return the house to Kurmit Kaur was issued on 16 March, 1995. It is
feared that whilst Darshan Singh and Jaswinder Kaur are being illegally
detained they may be tortured to extract information regarding the
whereabouts of Surinder Singh.
Barjinder Singh (alias Pappu, 25), son of Bahadur
Singh Mangat, of village Khanjarwal Tehsil: Jagron, District Ludihana,
is reported to have been abducted by the Jagron police on 5 February,
1995, at mid-night, from his in-laws' house: village Sidhwan Kalan (3km
from Jagron). Bahadur Singh has petitioned the DIG of Ludihana, Ranjan
Gupta, but no further news is available.
Lakhbir Singh (23) of Mohallapreet Nagar, District Ludihana, is reported
to have been picked up at 02.30 on 24 January, 1995, from his home by
the Sandar police (Ludihana). His wife, Charanjeet Kaur, has approached
the SSP for the area, Hardipp Dhillon, however, no further news is
Jagbir Singh (alias Jagga, 20), son of Ajaib Singh of
village Adliwal (18 km from Amritsar) is a mason by profession. On 15
January, 1995, when he was returning home from work, it is alleged that
he was abducted by police cats (or Black Cats, masked undercover
officers) on the Gumtala bend of the Ajunla Road at about 18.00. Jagbir
Singh' s father believes that his son has been kidnapped by the police.
He contacted the DIG of the area, D. R. Bhatti, and petitioned him to
search all the local police stations. Unfortunately, Jagbir Singh was
not found. Jagga might have been eliminated by police cats rather than
tortured Ajaib Singh has said. However, it is reported that four days
after his disappearance a telegram arrived from Jullundhur for Ajaib
Singh, apparently from his son, saying I'm ok.
Sukhvinder Singh, of village Chhann Noorowal Thesil
Ajnala, Dis. Amritsar, is reported to have been picked up by the Lopoke
police (who fall under the jurisdiction of the Amritsar police) on 7
January, 1995. It is alleged that he was tortured, and his wife, Jasbir
Kaur, who visited him daily to bring him food, has said that he was in a
miserable condition. This included pain all over his body and blood
coming from his genitals. On 1 February, 1995, Jasbir Kaur was refused
permission to give food to her husband or to even see him. She feared
that her husband had been killed late on 31 January. The following day
the police claimed that Sukhvinder Singh had escaped by scaling the
walls on February 1. However, he has not returned home and despite his
wife petitioning the local authorities and police to find her husband,
he has not re-appeared.
Sukhpal Singh Pali (24), son of Chhota Singh, is a
resident of Sekhuiva village, District Sangrur) and a journalist for the
Punjabi paper Aj di Awaz . It is reported that he was picked up by the
Punjab police on 13 July, 1994, from his maternal village Churhal Kalan,
Sunam district, Sangrur.
Witnesses to the abduction are his father, Gulab Singh (uncle), Jasnail
Kaur (aunt) Gurdev Kaur and Sukhpal's brother Harpal Singh. They say
that the police party included a driver called Pandit of the Punjab
police and a Home-guard jawan, Balbir Singh. Petitions have been made by
the family and the journalist's union in India, and the Supreme Court
have now ordered an investigation into his disappearance.
The paper which Sukhpal Singh writes for has already
been a target for harassment and intimidation, as well as illegal
detention of staff members (campaigns by Index on Censorship and Article
19 have focused attention on this), and the particular case of Sukhpal
Singh has featured in the country reports of Index on Censorship's
bi-monthly magazine (most recently, Jan-Feb. 1995).
Sukhvinder Singh Bhatti (40), from Badbar village in
District Sangrur, is a human rights lawyer. On 12 May, 1994, he was
travelling home from work to his village in Badbar, Punjab when the bus
he was travelling on was stopped by six plain-clothes men who searched
the bus and t ook Sukhvinder Singh Bhatti away in a Murati van which had
no number plates. He has not been seen since.
The involvement of the police is suspected because
close to the spot where the abduction took place are two police
check-points (Kooner and Badbar), and yet no officer intervened, and
secondly, it is illegal for anyone, except the police, to travel through
Punjab without number plates. Moreover, although the abduction was known
by 13 May (it was reported in the Ajit newspaper on 14 May), the police
did not register a case until 15 May, and then it was registered by the
police in Dhanola which is a considerable distance from the actual
incident (for full details of this case see Khalsa Human Rights report
Ajit Singh (75), is a resident of village Khuradpur,
near Adampur, District Jalandhar. It is alleged that he was abducted by
police, who were driving a Murati van, at 07.30 on 31 October, 1993. He
has not been seen since.
Major Singh, son of Nazar Singh, was working as an
assistant to a Head Granthi (priest) in Gurdwara Sant Sahib Tarn Taran
when it is reported he was picked up by SHO Sampuran Singh of police
station Sadar, Tarn Taran. The abduction took place outside the house of
Dilbagh Singh (SP Tarn Taran) on 7 September, 1993. Witnesses to the
abduction include four men who were accompanying Major Singh; Hardial
Singh (son of Mohinder Singh) of village Kajanpura (District Gurdaspur),
Joginder Singh (son of Bawa Singh of village Threwal (Gurdaspur), Jasbir
Singh Dimpa of village Lidhar (Amritsar), and Gurinder Singh of Tarn
As Major Singh had not been produced in any court nor
has he been released, Col. Surinder Sain wrote to the authorities on 19
November, 1993. According to Sukhvinder Singh, Major Singh's brother
(who is also in the army posted in Kashmir), says his brother is not
wanted in any case. Suhkvinder Singh has now filed a writ in the Punjab
High Court to investigate the disappearance of his brother.
Jagtar Singh, son of Labh Singh, is a resident of
village Sidhupur Kalan near Morinda, District Patiala/Rupar. It is
alleged that Jagtar Singh was picked up by the Kharar police (District
Rupar), in the presence of his elder brother and uncle (Calcutta Singh,
a former village official), in a Maruti van (registration number PB
-27-1284 or PB-12-1284) at 20.00 on 24 August, 1993. The arrest is
reported to have been led by DSP Harminder Singh, and SHO Pritam Singh.
According to Calcutta Singh, he was unable to gain
access to Jagtar and the SHO refused to register the case. Moreover,
despite a deputation of 30 village officials meeting a Punjab Minister,
Jagmohan Singh Kang, a lock adalat (proceedings held in private) was
held on 14 September, 1993, and attended by the SSP. Calcutta Singh
concluded I have come to know that Jagtar Singh, my nephew, has been
killed by the police under the influence of certain persons directions.
The case of Jagtar Singh is now being looked into by
the Punjab High Court. Satpal Singh, son of Jaswant Singh, is a resident
of Phase IV, Mohalli, District Ropar. It is alleged that Satpal Singh
was picked up by police in a white Gypsy van on 18 August, 1993 .
Despite petitions by his family, he has not yet been produced in court
(under Article 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure police are obliged
by law to produce a suspect before a magistrate within 24 hours of
Gursahib Singh, son of Lakha Singh, is a resident of
village Vanika, near Chogawan, District Amritsar, is alleged to have
been picked up by police in the last week of July, 1993. He has not been
Harpal Singh (40), son of Subedar Karnail Singh, of
village Hardorawal, near Churian, District Gurdaspur, is alleged to have
been taken from his home by the Dhilwan police on 17 July, 1993. The
police were accompanied by officers from the CRPF. Harpal Singh's
brother, Jaspal Singh, and a village Sarpanch (elder), Hazara Singh of
Hardorawal, are reported to have seen the officers, who escorted Harpal
away, working at the Dhilwan police station. However, the Dhilwan SHO
did not allow access to Jaspal Singh to see if his brother was actually
being detained and to this day no acknowledgement of the detention has
Harpal Singh's parents have sent telegrams to the
State Home Secretary, the Punjab & Haryana High Court for their
intervention, but Harpal has still not been produced in court (Article
167 also applies).
Tejinder Singh (33), son of Budh Singh, is a resident
of District Sangrur. He was last seen on 17 July, 1993, when he was
asked to accompany two police officers through the village streets to
identify militants. This final abduction is the culmination of a series
of police harassments on the family because of the alleged militant
involvement of Tejinder's brother, Jagdeep Singh. (For full details of
this case see Khalsa Human Rights report KHR 01/94.)
Attar Singh, son of Harbhajhan Singh, is a resident
of village Khilchain, District Amritsar. He is also the priest at the
Khilchain gurdwara (Sikh temple). In a letter written by Manjit Kaur,
his wife, she states The first case they [the police], like so many
other innocent people, put on my husband was when we as priest family
were living in village of Deriwal, District Gurdaspur...My husband was
tortured many times. The methods of torture is difficult to put into
After this we moved onto village Khilchian as village
priest family. While we were living here my husband was charged under
two different cases of suspicion to helping militants. One case in
Jandiala police station, the second was at Bias police station. And my
husband was very badly tortured under these two cases. And two months
after his release some officers in uniform and some in plainclothes
jumped over Gurdwara walls and kidnapped my husband, and after this our
world was turned into complete darkness. Manjit Kaur has six children
and she has now taken to begging.
It is alleged that he was picked up from the Gurdwara
by police on the night of 14 July, 1993 at about 22.30. Attar Singh's
father has written and spoken to the District authorities and has sent
telegrams to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh, and the Director
General of Punjab Police, K.P.S. Gill, asking for the release of his
son. So far no response has been made.
Balwinder Singh, who works for the panel section of
the R.C.F. factory at District Kapurthala, is alleged to have been
kidnapped by police on 3 July, 1993, from the main gate of the R.C.F.
factory. No further information is available.
Harbhajan Singh, son of Didar Singh, and resident of
Hirapur, Tehsil, District Jullundhur, is reported to have been arrested
by police at 04.00 on 2 July, 1993. Witnesses, who have testified to the
Punjab Human Rights Organisation (including Ravinder Kaur, Harbhajan's
wife) have stated that they heard Harbhajan shout that he was being
taken away by the police. Other members of the household tried to follow
the blue, numberless jeep which drove off, but it got away.
According to reports, Harbhajan was not wanted in any
criminal case (in previous arrests he was consistently acquitted), his
detention by police has not been acknowledged, and he has not been
produced in any court.
Palwinder Singh, son of the late Gurbachan Singh
Gahil (whose brother Mahesh Inder Singh Gahil is a militant Khalistani
activist), is a resident of village Gahil, near Bhawani Garh, District
Sangrur. Palwinder Singh is alleged to have been detained by Sangrur
police in the last week of June, 1993. He has not been seen since.
Jarnail Singh, a member of the Communist Party of
India, was detained by the Jagraon police, District Ludhiana, in May,
1993 . He is alleged to have been picked up from his village, Rasupur,
and it is alleged that he has been tortured. Despite protests lodged by
his family and members of the Communist Party of India, Jarnail's
present whereabouts is unknown.
Malkiat Singh Panch (35), son of Gurdit Singh, is a
resident of Sangowal, District Ludhiana. It is alleged that he was
picked up in a Maruti van (registration number PB 02 9473) by police
cats at 14.00 on 21 April, 1993. It is believed he was then taken
towards village Alamgir on the Sangrur Road. No further information is
Jathedar Charat Singh Rauke, a President of the Akali
Dal (Sikh political party), from District Faridkot, is alleged to have
been taken away by plain-clothed policemen at 13.10 on 25 March, 1993.
According to witnesses in the village where the abduction took place,
the police came in a Maruti car with the registration number PB 10 C 566
and a Maruti van PB 04 B 9593. The abduction took place during village
According to village reports, Jathedar Charat Singh
Rauke had been harassed and intimidated for a number of days before the
abduction. So far, although petitions have been made to the Punjab &
Haryana High Court and to District authorities, no further information
has been forthcoming.
Sukhdev Singh Chamkaur (48), is a petrol-pump owner
and resident at Phase IV, Mohalli, District Ropar. He is also a leading
member of the Shiromani Babbar Akali Dal, a political party. On 18
March, 1993, he was told to see the SHO at Sohana police station
(District Ropar) at 11.00. He was taken to the station in a Tata Mobile
car and both Sukhdev Singh Chamkaur and the driver were detained. The
driver was later released but Sukhdev Singh Chamkaur was kept for at
least two months.
In those two months Sukhdev Singh Chamkaur telephoned
his family twice and wrote one letter (the family acknowledge that the
letter was in his handwriting) saying he was being held the CIA
interrogation centre at Ropar. Then the communication stopped. Kamalijit
Kaur, Sukhdev' s wife, has since petitioned the Punjab High Court to
investigate her husband's disappearance. No further news is available.
Rajbir Singh, son of Rattan Singh, is a resident of
village Rampur, Bhootuind, District Amritsar. Rajbir Singh enrolled as a
constable with the Punjab police and was sent to a training college at
Phillaur on 1 January, 1993. On 26 February, 1993, Rajbir' s father went
to visit his son but was unable to see him. The Duty Section officer
told him that Rajbir had gone absent from the course. The Principal of
the college, K. S. Ghuman added that Rajbir Singh had been taken away by
the Superintendent of Operations, H. S. Sekhou at 17.00 on 24 February,
Rajbir's father and the village sanpanch (elected
village official), Hardev Singh, went to meet SP Sekhou at the Jagraon
Police Headquarters. He told them that Rajbir had to be interrogated and
this resulted in him being ill and that he will be released when he is
better. Nothing has been heard of him since.
Rajbir's parents have filed a writ in the Punjab High
Court but this was disposed off by the magistrate. They then took the
same writ to the Indian Supreme Court. Again this was disposed off.
However, the Supreme Court directed the High Court to review the matter
Harjinder Singh, son of Kashmir Singh of village
Waring Suba Singh near Khadoor, District Amritsar, is alleged to have
been taken from his shop and detained by police on 5 February, 1993.
According to his father, Kashmir Singh, My son Harjinder Singh was
picked up by the Tarn Taran Division police, whose SHO is Swaran Singh,
on 5.2.93 at 9.45 morning time from my house/shop.
Harjinder' s father was told by the SHO that his son
would be released in 2-4 days, but we [Kashmir and a village official]
went to Tarn Taran for 8 days continuos, but my son was not released.
After 8 days, Harjinder Singh was taken from Tarn Taran police station
to Kang police station by the officer in charge, SHO Mohinder
Singh...[When challenged] Mohinder Singh said it was not him who' s got
my son, but it was Gurdev Singh, SHO of Bheronwal. He took your son from
Kang police station on 14 February 1993. After talking to Gurdev Singh,
he refused that he got my son and he also refused that he took my son to
Bheronwal police station. Kashmir Singh has now written to many
officials and even placed an advertisement in the local newspaper,
however, no further news of his detention has been acknowledged by the
police and no further information is available.
Gurdeep Singh, who works at the sugar mill at
Dhariwal and is a resident of village Pachnawat, near Dhariwal, District
Gurdaspur, was produced before the Qadian police by the village
panchayat (elected elder) in January, 1993. Other members of the village
committee ar e reported to have seen Gurdeep Singh in police custody for
at least a week after his detention for questioning. The Qadian police
claim that Gurdeep Singh was released immediately after interrogation.
However, to this day, Gurdeep Singh has not returned home. Family and
friends believe he has died through excessive torture and that his body
has been disposed.
Bikkar Singh, son of Surjit Singh, is alleged to have
been picked up by plain-clothed policemen at 18.00 on 29 December, 1992.
Bikkar Singh's brother, Avtar Singh of village Sarhali Kalan near Tarn
Taran, District Amritsar, and his mother, Bibi Gurmej Kaur, have
petitioned for his release. No further information is available.
Mela Singh, an analyst with the Co-operative
Societies and a resident of Khalsa Avenue, District Amritsar, is alleged
to have been picked up by plain-clothed policemen from near the railway
workshop, Putlighar, District Amritsar on 14 December, 1992. Mela's
wife, Bibi Kuljinder Kaur, has contacted police officials asking them to
make a FIR with regards her husband's alleged kidnapping. So far the FIR
has not been lodged, leading to suspicions that the police may have been
involved in the abduction and are trying to cover-up the incident.
Similarly, writs of habeas corpus (which demand that an individual has
to be produced in court) have been met with no response.
Wassan Singh, an activist for the Akali Dal, is
alleged to have been abducted by two police officers on 7 November,
1992. It is reported that Wassan Singh, a resident of Nawan Pind Hundal,
District Gurdaspur, has been tortured by the Amritsar police where it is
belie ved he is being illegally detained. The police of Gurdaspur deny
all knowledge of Wassan\rquote s detention and have made no attempts to
obtain information from the Amritsar police about the allegations of
torture and illegal detention.
Parminder Singh, son of Hardeep Singh Dhillon, was
arrested by the Punjab police on 9 October, 1992, as he travelled from
his native village Jhabal, District Amritsar, to Baba Budha Secondary
School in Bir Sahib, Amritsar, where he is a science master. Parminder'
s father, a senior assistant at the Guru Nanak Dev University, has
already written to the District authorities and has sent telegrams to
the Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, and to Beant
Singh, the State's Chief \par Minister, but has not received any reply
and his son's whereabouts is still unknown.
Buta Singh Bhatti, President of the Bharti Ghat Ginti
and Dalit Mukti Front, is a resident of village Leelan, Jagraon,
District Ludhiana. It is alleged that he was abducted by the Punjab
police in an unmarked Maruti car on the morning of 24 September, 1992.
Reports state he was taken to a secret detention centre.
Hardial Singh Karseva Wala is a Kar Sewa Saint (a
Sikh holy man who builds Gurdwaras- Sikh temples). It is reported he was
abducted by the SHO at Sarhali whilst at the Gurusar Mehraj Gurdwara
near Ram Pura Phul, District Batinda, at 10.30 on 14 September, 1992. He
has not been see n since.
Mukhtiar Singh, son of Harbhajhan Singh, is a
resident of village Kalan Bala, near Dhariwal, District Gurdaspur.
Mukhtiar Singh is a police constable. It is reported that whilst on duty
at a police check-point, Mukhtiar Singh and Gurmeet Kaur were picked up
by the Jalandhar police on 30 August, 1992. Gurmeet Kaur was released
after a few days, following petitions raised by the families of both
people, however, Mukhtiar Singh is still being detained.
Sukhmander Singh, son of Major Singh Dallah (of
village Dallah, District Ludhiana), is a soldier serving with the Indian
army. It is alleged that whilst returning to his village for a holiday,
he was abducted near the village Akkhara by police cats on 19 July,
1992. His family say that he had Rs 25,000 on him. No further
information is available.
Jasbir Singh, son of Bibi Balwant Kaur, is a resident
of village Kangniwal, District Jalandhar. It is alleged that he was
abducted by the Jalandhar police from his village at 09.00 on 25 June,
1992. His mother has petitioned the Chief Justice of the Punjab &
Haryana High Court and Beant Singh, so far no response has been
forthcoming. (See also Amnesty International, An Unnatural Fate :
Disappearances and Impunity in the Indian States of Jammu & Kashmir and
Punjab1993, A.I. Index ASA 20/42/93, p.59).
Mohinder Singh, son of Avtar Singh, is an
agricultural inspector. He is a resident of village Jeon Singh Wala,
near Sardulgarh, District Bathinda. It is alleged that he was abducted
by four policemen in plain clothes and driven away in an unmarked
vehicle on 21 June, 1 992. He has not been seen since.
Mohinder's wife, Bibi Bhajhan Kaur, has petitioned
District officials, the SP Bathinda and Beant Singh. No further
information is known.
Param Satinderjit Singh, son of Sawinder Singh (a
lecturer at a State Secondary School), of village Kalanour, District
Gurdaspur, is alleged to have been taken away by the Punjab police on 18
May, 1992. It is reported that he was abducted between 16.00-18.00 from
Lawrence Road, Amritsar and taken away in a jeep. He has not been seen
Param Satinderjit Singh is a student at the Guru
Nanak Dev (GND) University in Amritsar. His father has already
petitioned the Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, K.P.S.
Gill, and has been interviewed by a research team from Human Rights
Watch/Asia (see report, Dead Silence: The Legacy of Human Rights Abuses
in Punjab, May, 1994, p.51-52.
Following the abduction, Dr. Atamjit Singh, the dean
of student welfare at GND went to the police but was told Param was not
in custody. Further protests by students and lecturers resulted in a
meeting with the SSP Amritsar, Hardeep Singh Dhillon, who told them that
Param had not been detained by his officers but by police belonging to
another district who were operating without permission. They were also
told, You cannot always talk in legal terms; the law only exists in the
books. There is a 99% chance that the boy has been killed.
On September 23, 1993, another university delegation
met with A.S. Chatha, the Chief Secretary. He told them that Param was
still in custody, that he is suspected of participating in a bombing
incident but that the police had not registered a case against him
because they could not find any witnesses. Mr. Chatha also promised the
delegation that if Param is charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive
Activities Act, they could then see him. As yet no charge has been made,
no access to Param been permitted and the police have provided no
Harjit Singh was abducted by police on 29 April,
1992, whilst he was standing at a bus stop. Later the police claimed
Harjit Singh was captured on 11 May and then killed in an attack by Sikh
militants, he was actually seen alive in police custody on two occasions
by his father. He was last seen alive on 15 October, 1992, when he was
being held in a CIA building in Mal Mundi (for full details of this case
see Amnesty International, An Unnatural Fate pp. 29-31).
Karam Singh, a resident of village Bhattian, District
Amritsar, has not been seen since 1991. His family believe he has been
illegally detained, tortured and killed. His brother, S. Bachittar
Singh, his brother's wife, Jasbir Kaur, his brother-in-law, Amrik Singh,
and his children have all been repeatedly detained and allegedly
tortured by the Goindwal police. Karam Singh's family are in constant
fear of further abuses.
Harcharan Singh Brar, Chief Minister of Punjab,
Office of the Chief Minister, Chandigarh, Punjab, India. Fax: 00 91 172
O.P. Sharma, Director General of Police, Police
Headquarters, Chandigarh, Punjab, India Fax: 00 91 172 540 437
Dr. L. M. Singhvi, Indian High Commission, India
House, Aldwych, London SW1A 0AA Fax: 0171 836 4331
[Your MP's Name], House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Suggestions For Your Letters
Ask the Indian government to implement the following
prompt and thorough investigations into all
cases of disappearances;
all State and District authorities should maintain a
central, up to date and accurate register of all detainees in the State,
clearly indicating the place of detention;
all units of the security forces should be obliged to
notify the State and District authorities as soon as an arrest is made,
and as detailed an account of the arrest should be recorded (including
name, age and address of detainee, place of arrest, place and period of
detention, name of arresting officer and under whom the detainee is
members of the judiciary, relatives of the detainee
and their legal representatives as well as relevant bodies and other
interested parties should have immediate access to all information being
kept on the detainee;
relatives should be immediately notified of the
arrest and place of detention;
detainees should only be held in officially
recognised places of detention;
the authorities should adopt an active policy to
prevent disappearances, such as:
taking immediate and effective steps to ensure that
all those against whom there is evidence that they have participated in
or sanctioned disappearances should be promptly brought to justice, and;
the government should strengthen legal safeguards to
prevent disappearances and abide by its international obligations under
the human right standards which it has signed and ratified (most notably
the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, the International
Covenant on Civil & Political Rights and India's own Constitution, all
three guarantee the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and
The partition of British India that created the
independent nations of Pakistan and India in 1947 drew a line through
Punjab. When the resultant civil conflicts and migrations ended, the
Sikhs were concentrated in east Punjab. In 1953, India' s central
government appointed a commission which redrew the boundaries of all
states, with the exception o f Punjab, along linguistic lines. In
response, Sikh leaders mobilised for a Punjabi language-majority state.
Fearing that a Punjabi state might lead to a separatist Sikh movement,
the central government opposed the demand. In response, Sikh politicians
launched a civil disobedience campaign that led to the arrest of
thousands by the end of 1955. Continuing civil disobedience campaigns
precipitated the arrest of over 50,000 Sikhs between 1960 and 1961.
Between 1981 and the army assault on the Golden
Temple in Amritsar in June, 1984, there were protracted negotiations
between the government and the Sikh Akali Dal leadership. After 1982,
the Akali Dal demanded more autonomy for the state, the promised
transfer of the capital city Chandigarh and other Punjabi- speaking
areas to Punjab, a Sikh code of personal law, quotas for Sikhs in the
military, and the deletion of language in the Indian constitution which
brackets Sikhs with Hindus.
On 1 May, 1982 the government of India broke off
talks with the Akali Dal and banned several Sikh organisations. Members
of these banned groups retreated to the Golden Temple complex, becoming
an armed headquarters for sections of the independence movement. Talks
between the government and the Akali Dal resumed in late 1982 but en ded
in stalemate, and the failure of the civil disobedience campaigns to
achieve a breakthrough prompted some politicians to align with the
militants and justify the resort to violence. Attacks on policemen and
civilians escalated. President's Rule, direct rule from Delhi, was
imposed on Punjab on 6 October, 1983, after a bus was ambushed and six
Hindu passengers murdered.
Increasingly, Sikh men were reported to have been
executed in staged encounters with security forces, setting in place the
cycle of violence. The army led an assault on the Golden Temple on 4
June, 1984, and because foreign journalists were deported and domestic
journalists were prohibited from reporting it is difficult to asses how
the confrontation was conducted.
On 31 October, 19 84, Indira Gandhi was assassinated
by two Sikh bodyguards. In the days that followed, anti-Sikh rioting
paralysed New Delhi, ultimately claiming at least 3,000 lives. Sikh men
were beaten, stabbed, and doused with kerosene and burned to death by
mobs. In some neighbourhoods, children were also killed, and women were
raped. At least 50,000 people were displaced, and tens of thousands of
Sikh homes and businesses were burned to the ground.
Since then, the negotiations for peace have been
constantly undermined by the lack of continuity in India's government,
the lack of a political will for a solution, and because of the
increasing number of atrocities committed by both Sikh militants and