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World Human Rights Day: Where are our dear ones? Victims families of ‘involuntary disappearances’ ask the Indian state

December 10, 2014 | By

Amritsar, Punjab: Asserting that gross human rights abuses committed in Punjab since 1982 were not random but have been carried out as a matter of (India) state policy, the Dal Khalsa along with family members of victims of state repression will approach the United States president Barack Obama during his forthcoming visit to India on 26th Jan, 2015.

Since June 1982, Punjab has witnessed massive human rights violations including torture, enforced disappearances’, extrajudicial killings. India cannot hide from its past. Families in villages throughout Punjab are still searching for relatives who were last seen in police custody. To this day, families are waiting to learn the fate of their disappeared loved ones, and none of the senior security officials or the architects of the crimes have been held accountable. The hopes for justice are dying with every passing time. So this assembly decides to approach the visiting US head to tell him the horrific tales of rights violations and seek his active intervention.

The resolution to this effect was adopted at the assembly of near and dear and ones of those who were subject to enforced disappearance or were summarily executed in staged “encounter” or have disappeared while in police custody. The event was organized by Dal Khalsa to mark the 66th World Human Rights Day. Another resolution passed in the conclave states that “We the mothers, widows, daughters and sisters of the persons subject to enforced disappearance demand the authorities to wake up from slumber and ignorance and give information about our dear ones. And we will continue to demand it till we breathe our last”. Bibi Sandeep Kaur read this resolution. Around about 500 family members were present on the occasion.

As the justice eludes the aggrieved families, the participants mostly youth and prominent personalities including Justice (retd) Ajit Singh Bains, Gurtej Singh former IAS, Sikh historian Dr G S Dhillon stood up in solidarity with the victims of the families of enforced disappearance. The organizers presented a Shawl to all the members as a mark of respect. Prominent award-winning human rights activist from Kashmir Mr Parvez Imroz addressed the function. He narrated the tale, plight and trauma of family members of disappeared persons who were killed allegedly by security forces in “fake encounters” in J&K. He said from Punjab to Kashmir to Nagaland, India has travelled a long way in perpetuating gross human rights abuses.

Announcing the programme, the party head H S Dhami said we will approach the US government as India only listens to the voice of powerful nations and people. We have lost all hopes to get justice in the present Indian dispensation. “We believe that either the world community has failed to see or was turning a blind eye to the stark reality that ethnic minorities are unsafe in India”.

He further said in the past three decades every attempt to bring justice to victims, hold the security forces accountable for crimes and punish the violators has been frustrated by security establishment that perpetrated the horrible abuses in the mistaken belief of defending the integrity of the state. Their demand for amnesty and impunity has found support in the highest political quarters of the state. Hence, we have left with no other option but to approach the US and UN to redress our problems and concerns and resolution of the political conflict between the Punjab and India. We will seek appointment from the US Embassy to meet their president and we will surely take selective families with us who could narrate their woes, pain and mental trauma to the visiting dignitary.

Party spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said many of those who designed and implemented the state policies in Punjab are still active today. He told the audience that their representatives from Europe Manmohan Singh Khalsa and Pritpal Singh Switzerland had met Ms Katia Chirizzi, Senior Advisor at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at Geneva today evening to hand over the memo addressed to UN Secretary General to her.

In a memo, the hardliner Sikh group has sought the setting up of a Commission under the aegis of the United Nations to unearth the involuntary detentions, torture and death of Sikhs in fake encounters during the period of struggle from 1982 onwards to the present.

After the rally, activists along with parents of disappeared marched into the city holding torches, candles and snaps of victims.

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