July 7, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (July 06, 2013): Khalsa Human Rights, the human rights wing of the Sikh Federation (UK), has written to Professor Christof Heyn, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions following the confession last week by Sub-Inspector Surjit Singh of the atrocities committed by him and security forces in Punjab in the early 1990s.
Surjit Singh who has gone into hiding since his confession has claimed to have killed 83 Sikhs in false encounters on the orders of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Paramjit Singh Gill. He has stated that he did not know if the young men were guilty or innocent, and they were killed unlawfully:
‘The guilty were killed, and innocent [young men] were also brought to me to be killed. I didn’t know whether they were guilty or innocent, but I was told to kill them regardless.’
In a subsequent interview he also revealed that senior officials threatened that he would meet the same end as human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was illegally detained and murdered by Punjab Police for investigating secret mass cremations. He stated that senior officials told him:
‘If you open your mouth, then like Jaswant Singh Khalra who was investigating the 25,000 missing bodies, and went missing himself—the same will happen to you.’
A Khalsa Human Rights spokesman said:
‘We understand human rights activist Kirpal Singh Randhawa has said that the Punjab and Haryana High Court would be approached to obtain a CBI investigation into the matter.’
‘However, we do not think India can conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the atrocities that will result in the identification and prosecution of responsible police officers.’
‘We have therefore written to the UN Special Rapporteur who has recently criticised India to ensure international pressure is exerted on India.’
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) added:
‘From what Surijit Singh has described these are clear cases of extrajudicial and arbitrary executions that are illegal and without due regard to the law or legal procedure as defined by the United Nations.’
‘Khalsa Human Rights are waiting for further information from lawyers and human rights activists about the 83 Sikh killed before submitting the Model Questionnaire developed by the Special Rapporteur as there is no need to exhaust domestic remedies in India before taking the matter to the United Nations.’
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