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Human Rights Abuses in Punjab and Wikileaks: Alam Sena’s existence find mention in US diplomatic cable

September 23, 2011 | By

Ludhiana (September 23, 2011): Issue of mass level human rights abuse in Punjab by police and para-military forces of Punjab and India finds a Wikileaks link. A recent “expose” by Wikileaks mentions the existence of “Alam Sena”.

The communication, referred as “cable”, sent by New Delhi based US Embassy on December 19, 2005; released by Wikileaks, mentions the existence of “Alam Sena”. This “cables” is in response to certain issues and specific questions relating to the extradition of Kulbir Singh Barapind from US to India.

In response to question posed by “Department” asked for “post’s” assistance in reviewing the assertions contained in Barapind’s submission that – (b) one of the policemen allegedly responsible for Barapind’s torture in 1988 has been promoted to the senior ranks of the Punjab police force, it is mentioned in the cable that:
“With regard to former Senior Superintendent Punjab Police (Jalandhar) Mohammad Izhar Alam, we can confirm that he now holds the position of Additional Director General (Administration) Punjab Police, a senior police posting. During the insurgency, he assembled a large, personal paramilitary force of approximately 150 men known as the “Black Cats” or “Alam Sena” (“Alam’s Army”) that included cashiered police officers and rehabilitated Sikh terrorists. The group had reach throughout the Punjab and is alleged to have had carte blanche in carrying out possibly thousands of staged “encounter killings.” (NOTE: Former Director General Punjab Police KPS Gill publicly praised the group, saying the Punjab police could not function without them. End Note.) Herkewaljit Singh told us that Alam was “at the top of the list” in authorizing encounters during the insurgency period”.

Commenting on the issue, Harpal Singh Cheema, Secretary General of Panch Pardhani said: “Such illegal associations created by senior Punjab or India police/para-military officers were involved in mass level abuses in Punjab. They killed Sikh militants in fake/staged encounters, their innocent family members and other civilians during Sikh armed struggle”.

He slammed the Indian State and Punjab Government for granting de facto impunity to abusers like Izhar Alam, Sumedh Saini and others.

“Instead of prosecuting these criminals for ‘crimes against humanity’, ‘enforced disappearances’ and torture, government has rewarded them with promotions and primary posts” he added.

He claimed that Human Rights redress forums like State and National Human Rights Commissions have drastically failed to nail the culprit officers.

Kanwarpal Singh, Secretary of Dal Khalsa has demanded extensive probe into the issue of existence of “Alam Sena” and its illegal acts so that truth is brought out. Alam Sena was an infamous squad formed and headed by Izhar Alam outside the regular police or para-military structure of Punjab or India.

Izhar Alam is proposed candidate for the forthcoming Punjab Assembly elections on ruling political party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) or the Badal Dal’s ticket. This party, once considered to be guardian of Sikh political rights, has fully colluded with the Indian State in what could be precisely termed as Indo-Sikh political conflict.

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