by U.S. Department of State
Sikh Case-Indian Government is silent-Why?
Who will seek answer?
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices -
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007
made little progress in holding hundreds of police and security
officials accountable for serious human rights abuses committed
counterinsurgency of 1984-94, despite the presence of a special
investigatory commission. The CBI claimed to be pursuing charges
against dozens of police officials implicated in the 1980s for
hundreds of deaths and secret cremations. The NGO ENSAAF estimated
that security forces extrajudicially killed and caused to disappear
more than 10,000 Punjabi Sikhs and cremated 6,017 Sikhs in
alone in counter insurgency operations during the militancy.
Paramjit Kaur Khalra, the widow of human rights activist Jaswant
Singh Khalra, filed a legal petition calling for the investigation
and prosecution of former police chief Gill for the abduction,
illegal detention, torture, and murder of her husband. According to
ENSAAF and other human rights organizations, in September 1995
members of the Punjab police operating under Gill's command abducted
Khalra for investigating and exposing the "disappearances" and
secret cremations of thousands of Sikhs in Punjab by security
forces. Gill's subordinates illegally detained and tortured Khalra
for nearly two months, before killing him in 1995.
continued to investigate 2,097 cases of murder and cremation that
occurred between 1984 and the early 1990s. The NHRC asked families
whose members had disappeared to provide evidence and ordered
compensation to approximately 100 families. The NHRC has not
released its findings, and no significant progress was made in
bringing to justice those responsible for the killings.
On May 15, the
NHRC ordered the Punjab Government to disburse monetary compensation
of $5,700 (Rs 250,000) each to the next of kin of 45 persons whom
the state government admitted were in police custody immediately
before they were killed and illegally cremated. In August 2005 the
Nanavati commission, tasked with conducting a re-inquiry into the
anti-Sikh riots of 1984, released its report, citing several
prominent Congress Party leaders for complicity in the violence and
implicated law enforcement personnel in the deaths, accusing them of
refusing to perform their duty to maintain law and order. The
government also set up two committees to disburse financial
compensation promised by Prime Minister Singh to the victims'
families. The government approved an extra $158 million (Rs Seven
billion) in compensation: $7,800 (Rs 344,000) for every family
member killed and $2,800 (Rs 124,000) for those injured.
One human rights
activist and lawyer from the state of
filing 4,000 disappearance cases. However, only 10 to 12 of these
cases had been prosecuted. In July 2005 the NHRC directed the CBI to
government access to documents regarding the illegal killing and
cremation of 64 persons by the
during the insurgency. On April 3, NHRC Chairman A.S. Anand stated
that the Punjab State Government identified 570 persons who had been
cremated secretly. On May 15, the NHRC directed Punjab authorities
to pay $5,500 (Rs 243,000) to the survivors of 45 victims.
credible reports that police throughout the country often failed to
file legally required arrest reports, resulting in hundreds of
unresolved disappearances in which relatives claimed that an
individual was taken into police custody and never heard from again.
Police usually denied these claims, pointing to the lack of an
Balbir Singh Sooch