Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Dark Side of “India Shining”

Chaman Lal’s story is emblematic of the consequences of “national security” operations and policies that turn a blind eye to abuses. Although the vast majority of India’s counterinsurgency victims in Punjab were Sikh, impunity empowered its security forces to target anyone, including poor Hindu families like Chaman Lal’s. Above, watch him describe how the Punjab police abducted and murdered his son in a fake encounter, and how, one by one, the Supreme Court, the High Court, and the National Human Rights Commission, failed to give him any justice.

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Our Voices Matter

When Tarlok Singh and Balbir Kaur celebrated the birth of their son Surjit Singh, they could never have imagined he would live such a short life. Yet, in the midst of the violence that plagued Punjab during the “Decade of Disappearances,” Punjab Police killed Surjit Singh, like thousands of others, in a fake encounter. He was only 17.

In 2010, Ensaaf spoke to hundreds of other survivors in Punjab just like Surjit Singh’s family. Many of them had never before shared their experiences with civil society. Yet they welcomed us into their homes so that the lives and deaths of their loved ones could be documented and acknowledged.

Here, we’ve compiled photographs of several victims, shared by survivors, into a photo essay titled “Our Voices Matter”.