Human Rights Watch Index No.: ISBN 1-56432-130-4. May 1, 1994
The bloody conflict in the Indian state of Punjab drew to a close in
1993, but the restoration of an elected government has not meant the
restoration of the rule of law. To the contrary, the Punjab police
continue to torture, kill or cause their victims to disappear with
impunity. The price of the government’s apparent success against the
separatists is the legacy of these abuses: a corrupt and brutal police
force whose recourse to murder and torture has been sanctioned by the
state as an acceptable means of combating political violence. Dead
Silence documents incidents of torture, extrajudicial executions and
disappearances by the police, which took place between 1991 and 1993.
There is no indication that the government at the state or federal level
has made any effort to investigate these abuses or prosecute the
perpetrators, even though the identity of the latter is well-documented.
In the course of the conflict, many civilians were also murdered in
militant attacks. The report also documents abuses by militant Sikh
organizations. In late 1993, India established a national human rights
commission empowered to investigate reports of abuses and recommend
prosecution or other punitive measures. Human Rights Watch/Asia and
Physicians for Human Rights urge the commission to conduct a thorough
investigation into the cases documented in these pages and call for the
criminal prosecution and punishment of police responsible.