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Welcome to the Sikh Vichar Manch-Thought Provoking Forum for Justice

 
 

 
International Human Rights Groups call for
Prosecution of Gill for Murder of Khalra
 

Human Rights Activist - Shaheed Bhai Jaswant Singh Khalra

Murder of activist Khalra
KPS Gill remains free

Mockery of justice
Punjab Cops Convicted in 1995 murder of Activist Khalra 

Background to the case: 

According to government records, Mr. Khalra demonstrated that security forces abducted, murdered, and secretly cremated an estimated 25,000 Sikhs in Punjab from 1984 to 1995. In early 1995, Mr. Khalra warned at a press conference that the Punjab government “was highly mistaken in thinking that by eliminating him the matter relating to 25,000 unclaimed bodies” in Punjab “[could] be put to an end.” He further stated that he was prepared to die for the cause of justice, and appealed to the people to “hold the police chief KPS Gill” accountable for his murder and the mass cremations in Punjab. Punjab police abducted Mr. Khalra on September 6, 1995, tortured him in detention, and killed him in late October 1995. 

6 September 1995

Jaswant Singh Khalra, General Secretary of the Human Rights Wing of the Akali Dal political party, "disappeared" after several witnesses saw him being picked up by Punjab police outside his home in Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab. Police officials denied that he was arrested or detained. 

12 September 1995

Jaswant Singh Khalra’s wife, Mrs Paramjit Kaur Khalra, filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court of India. In response to this petition, the Punjab police continued to deny that he had been arrested. 

November 1995

The Supreme Court ordered an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the "disappearance" of Jaswant Singh Khalra. 

30 July 1996

The CBI presented its investigation report to the Supreme Court identifying nine Punjab police officials as responsible for the abduction of Jaswant Singh Khalra and recommended their prosecution. It also found evidence that Jaswant Singh Khalra had been hld at the Kang Police Station in Tarn Taran district after police picked him up but that he had been moved from there on 24 October 1995 after which time his whereabouts were unknown. The Supreme Court requested the CBI to continue its efforts to establish the fate of Jaswant Singh Khalra. 

19 August 1996

The Government of Punjab granted sanction (required by law in India for the prosecution of public servants) for the prosecution of the police officials. 

International Standards

The UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance sets out standards for the prevention of "disappearances" and measures for providing redress. In particular, it refers to the issue of the possible intimidation of witnesses and establishes safeguards which should be followed in order to prevent this:

Article 13(3): Steps shall be taken to ensure that all involved in the investigation, including the complainant, counsel, witnesses and those conducting the investigation, are protected against ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal

Article 13(5): Steps shall be taken to ensure that any ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal or any other form of interference on the occasion of the lodging of a complaint or the investigation procedure is appropriately punished

Article 16(1) Persons alleged to have committed any acts referred to in article 4, paragraph 1 [enforced disappearance] shall be suspended from any official duties during the investigation referred to in article 13.  

In addition, the draft UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders declares that "The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of their legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the Declaration" (Article 12(2)). This Declaration was adopted by consensus at the 54th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights which recommended its speedy adoption at the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly which begins in September. India was a member state of the 54th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. 

UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary 

2. The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason. 

While Amnesty International members worldwide are campaigning to defend the defenders of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) during the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, the organization has received disturbing reports that the judicial process underway in India to bring to justice those responsible for the "disappearance" of Jaswant Singh Khalra -- one of the human rights defenders highlighted in the organization's campaign -- is being severely undermined.  

This brief document sets out Amnesty International's concerns at allegations that accused police officers have delayed proceedings and intimidated witnesses. Those who have been seeking to defend Jaswant Singh Khalra's rights -- his wife Paramjit Kaur Khalra and members of the Khalra Action Committee -- have themselves suffered intimidation and abuse. Combined with delays in the judicial proceedings and disregard of judicial orders, the attempts being made to suppress evidence against police officials and prevent further investigations into the fate of Jaswant Singh Khalra make a mockery of justice. 

Khalra had been involved in a campaign to highlight the plight of hundreds of people who "disappeared" after being arrested by the Punjab police during the 1980s and early 1990s. He was instrumental in filing a petition in the Supreme Court concerning the fate of those who had "disappeared". This petition has led to the Supreme Court of India instructing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate widespread allegations of human rights violations in Punjab. The campaign has mobilised lawyers and human rights activists in the state to form the Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab with the purpose of systematically documenting violations and mobilising public opinion to press for a thorough and transparent investigation into past abuses in Punjab. While the hearings of the Supreme Court petition and the campaign continue, the fate of Jaswant Singh Khalra remains unknown “Indian State had a free hand to kill the Sikhs mostly always in false encounters till the State nicely exposed by the genuine Human Rights Groups from out side Punjab though exception is Sardar Jaswant Singh Khalra  who was brutally killed and others ignored him for the reasons obviously best known to them. Similar is the case of Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke.” ----Balbir Singh Sooch - Dated: 06-09-2003. 

In November 1984, thousands of Sikh civilians in New Delhi and other major cities, were systematically hunted down and murdered in their homes and on the streets; with the open complicity of the Indian police. 

Over the last 20 years, India has imposed a regime of gruesome repression and murder on the Sikh population in Panjab. Tens of thousands of Sikh civilians have been killed in a combination of staged 'armed encounters' and 'disappearances'.

Amnesty International  and Human Rights Watch  have together produced over twenty separate reports, documenting widespread human rights atrocities in Panjab by India's police and army. Torture, arbitrary incarceration and custodial deaths, are reported as routine and widespread. India has refused to open up to an international scrutiny of these incidents. It has barred Amnesty International, since 1978; and has refused to permit access to the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture and Disappearances. 

On Friday, November 18, 2005, additional District Judge Bhupinder Singh in Patiala convicted six Punjab police officials in the 1995 abduction and murder case of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra. The court sentenced Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Jaspal Singh and Amarjit Singh to life imprisonment for murder, abduction with intent to murder, destruction of evidence, and criminal conspiracy. The court sentenced officers Satnam Singh, Surinderpal Singh, Pritpal Singh, and Jasbir Singh to seven years imprisonment for abduction with intent to murder, two years imprisonment for destruction of evidence, and five years imprisonment for criminal conspiracy. 

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ajit Singh Sandhu, the primary accused, and DSP Ashok Kumar died during the trial of the case  

COMMENTS 

Khalra murder case
1
Justice denied 

But for Khalra's wife who has fought a 10-year-long battle for justice, and has been subjected to both threats and false cases, this is not only justice delayed but also justice denied.

In 1995, after Khalra exposed the fact that thousands of young men in Punjab, who had disappeared after the police picked them up, were cremated as unidentified, he was a marked man.

Swati Maheshwari

Watch story

Friday, November 18, 2005 (Patiala) 

There are at least some good results in this verdict. This is an eye wash. The cases will then be fought in High Court and Supreme Court at Govt expenses. One time fox-e-Punjab Be(ant) singh made announcement regarding this. Up to that time there are chances for them to be released on bail. If they loose the case in these courts, then there is coward government of Captain which will recommend clemency and the governor will act blindly. This is the face of biggest democracy in the world. Turbaned head of the state will make an announcement that there is no human right violation any where in India.

Kee Main Jhooth Boliaa, Han Jaan na.

Thanks.
regards,
Jasbir Singh 

3

Sir,

To my mind, there are chances that like previous cases, the fate of Khalra murder case will finally end, resulting into decision by all means against justice and in favour of State repression. The apprehension of Sardar Jasbir Singh is quite reasonable. The hidden bargaining as it looks may prove disastrous for Sikhs in the long run and it shall tarnish the image of Sikh Nation in historical aspect. However, World opinion never may be in favour of India and its unity and integration under the circumstances. 

Balbir Singh Sooch

4

Prem-moorat, Meharvaan Khalsa Sadh Sangat ji: 

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh hai: 

 Famous poet Pablo Neruda wrote a verse: 

 "They can cut the flowers, but they cannot stop the spring."  When I heard the speech of S. Jaswant Singh Khalra in Parliament of  Canada and then again in Dixie Gurughar, I was moved to the core because of intensity of his passion for truth and his overflowing love  for suffering of others. At that time, there was still an atmosphere of fear and suspense as people were  disappearing. The courage that S. Khalra displayed was matchless but I had strange fear in my heart about his safety when he returns back. But some how the fact that he was an invited guest in the Parliament of Canada and by then an known personality fighting for human  rights, I thought no no he will be alright. 

His speech in Dixie Gurughar, his each word is vibrating in my head still. Somehow as I read above verse of Pablo Neruda, I am thinking of truth that keeps shining just as it did  from wall of Sirhind, just as it did in Chandni  Chaowk, just as it did from kaal-kothries of Mannu's jail where mothers and toddlers were slaughtered without mercy. Death of the newly-wed, only brother of this women I met in Melbourne Australia, her tears, the pictures of her brother who was shot in police custody, how her husband tried to hide him from police hunts but could not save him; the old man who was beating his chest infront of CIA staff because he was told that his son was not alive; and this friend of mine told me how he and his friend were kept in CIA Staff for few nights and one night taken to the canal rest house in the middle of the night...the drunk police inspector never made it to the guest house that night to order their execution and they were brought back, released because of manoeuvring by their connections... so that story could be told...in those days we used to read the bounties that were paid on heads of so and so....where was that money flowing from, and how much the middlemen kept??? Who distributed those bounties??? Were any records kept??? 

Crores of currency was flying in hills of Himachal when Governor Surinder Kumar dies alongwith innocent pilots in his helicoptor ride.... No, no never shall spring be contained by any means. Meharvaan Satguru Guru Nanak Dev ji says: Sat kay khattiyeh dukh nahi payiaa Sahi salamat gharr lei  ayiaa  The Mahakaalji has its own agenda, and it unwinds at its own pace in unknown ways: Narr chahat kichh aour, aourey ki aouraey bhaee Chitvatt rahyio thagaur Nanak fassi gal paree  Mahakaal saw Bhutto hanging at end of the rope, but his killer, Zia, who happily signed Bhutto's death  warrant and offered the pen to his friend Zahoor Illahi, was found to be shredded so that no one could recognize his  body. And Chaudhry Zahoor Ilahi died with bullets of an unknown man on streets of Lahore few blocks away from his house. Mahakaal ji beyond  our understanding. Just like Raja Preekshat was bitten by snake hiding in the flowers brought to him as gift in that glass house in the middle of the lake, Rajiv Gandhi was bitten by this Tamil lady's snake hiding behind that garland of flowers she respectfully put around his neck. Mahakaalji, as we are told, stays a few feet away from left shoulder of everyone: 

Yatha Srimukhvaak Guru Teg Bahadur Ji: 

Kaal biyaal jeo paryio dollay mukh passaray meeet!! Aaj kaal funn tohay gruss hai, samajh rakhao cheeet!! Kahay Nanak Raam bhajj laiy jaaat awssar beeet!! Dharray oat kouu, karray oat kotum!! Bachayga na koiii, karray KAAL chotum!! (Sri Dasmesh Pita Srimukhvaak, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib ji.) No matter how many forts you build, and seek shelter behind shelters of choice, no one, Guru Sahib says, noone shall escape the hit of Sri Mahakaaal jio. True. Pablo Neruda is correctly saying: "They can cut the flowers, but they cannot stop the spring." 

Raam Bhrossay 

Harkinder Singh 
London Ontario Canada 
November 21, 2005 

(It is a selected extract from some reports, comments and emails received)

 
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