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Press Release

December 27, 2016
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Mapping the Killers

The Architects of the Abuses

(Pleasanton, CA)

“We submitted petitions to the Supreme Court, the High Court, the National Human Rights Commission, and the Prime Minister of India. What result could there be? There’s no ability to be heard in this country...Erase my name from this country’s records. Because I am ashamed to call this country my own.” - Chaman Lal, father of victim Gulshan Kumar

For three decades, the architects of crimes against humanity in Punjab have escaped accountability and justice. While families have searched for their disappeared loved ones and lived with lies and partial-truths, these architects have received awards and promotions from the Indian government. We believe that survivors of gross human rights violations cannot live as free and respected citizens of a country until impunity ends.

As part of its Virtual Site of Conscience, Ensaaf will create visualizations that will promote accountability and support prosecutions for crimes against humanity in Punjab. The visualizations will identify the commanding officials, as well as the number of individuals killed and disappeared by them and their subordinates. Visitors to the Virtual Site of Conscience will be able to click on each police official and see the distribution and types of human rights violations perpetrated by that official, wherever he was posted in Punjab. Visitors will also be able to read factual narratives from surviving family members persecuted by those officials, see photos of victims, and watch videos of related oral histories.

Chaman Lal died in 2016, after fighting for justice for his son for 23 years. He knew which police officers had abducted, tortured, and killed his son Gulshan Kumar. He himself met SSP Ajit Sandhu asking for his son’s release. In his case, the Supreme Court stayed the trial against accused police officers for over a decade, denying Chaman Lal the opportunity to give his eyewitness testimony. To date, each security officer has escaped accountability for their role in the abuses committed against Gulshan Kumar and others.

This visualization will erode the authority of perpetrators who have instead received promotions and launched amnesty campaigns. It will provide key information for campaigns for accountability in Punjab. Please donate now to play a role in making justice possible. Demonstrate your commitment with resources to make this vision a reality.