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Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India

A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis

January 26, 2009

Human rights groups have collected extensive qualitative evidence that provide detailed descriptions and analyses of the type and range of abuses committed by Indian security forces and the corresponding impunity that persists in Punjab. Until now, however, human rights groups have lacked the capacity to conduct quantitative research to record the level of human casualties and enforced disappearances from the Punjab counterinsurgency period.

By using quantitative methods, this report demonstrates the implausibility of lethal human rights violations being "random" or "minor aberrations" as claimed by Indian officials. Specifically, the report notes that:

Figure 1 from Report

♦  The available data sources, each collected through substantially different social, political, and legal processes, are generally consistent in noting that enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Punjab were overwhelmingly concentrated in the early 1990s when the government intensified its counterinsurgency operations against alleged Sikh militants. The strong correlation between reported lethal human rights violations and overall reported lethal violence across time is inconsistent with official claims that human rights violations were random or minor aberrations.

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