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Press Release

October 18, 2011

Let's Challenge the Darkness

"There is a fable that when the Sun was setting for the first time, … light was decreasing … and the signs of Darkness were appearing … Darkness set its foot on the earth, but it is said — far away, in some hut, one little Lamp lifted his head. It proclaimed, 'I challenge the Darkness. If nothing else, then at least around myself, I will not let it settle. Around myself I will establish Light.' And … watching that one Lamp, in other huts, other Lamps arose. And the world was amazed that these Lamps stopped Darkness from expanding, so that people could see."

— Jaswant Singh Khalra, April 1995

(Fremont, CA) Ensaaf and the Khalra Mission Organisation announce Challenge the Darkness, a campaign to commemorate human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra and draw attention to the mass state crimes committed in Punjab, India from 1984 to 1995. Starting October 28th, Ensaaf and the Khalra Mission Organisation will participate in a series of events to remember the 16th anniversary of Khalra's abduction, torture, illegal detention, and murder. Join our campaign and challenge the darkness:

  • Like our Facebook pages by October 28th: Ensaaf, Khalra Mission Organisation. Help each of us reach 2,059 fans — the number of secret cremations recognized by the Indian government in one district in Punjab, based on Khalra's work.
  • Make the image above your Facebook and Twitter profile picture by October 28th. Send this image to your friends to share your awareness and knowledge of Khalra's work and the ongoing human rights violations committed in Punjab.
  • Learn more about Khalra's work and the mass state crimes in Punjab.
  • Stay tuned for videos Ensaaf will release periodically over the month of November.
  • Finally, help end impunity and achieve justice by making a donation to Ensaaf. Throughout this campaign, a philanthropist will match each dollar donated.

 From 1984 to 1995, Indian security forces engaged in systematic human rights violations in the state of Punjab, India, as part of counterinsurgency operations aimed at crushing a violent self-determination movement. Director General of Police KPS Gill expanded upon a system of rewards and incentives for police to capture and kill militants, leading to a dramatic increase in disappearances and extrajudicial executions. By the end of the "Decade of Disappearances" in 1995, security forces had disappeared or killed tens of thousands of Sikhs. In order to cover up their crimes, Punjab security forces illegally detained, tortured, and killed human rights defenders such as Jaswant Singh Khalra and Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti, as well as secretly cremated thousands of victims of extrajudicial executions.

No family has received truth, justice, and reparations.

The sharing of this image via Facebook and Twitter is an identification on your part that you will help bring light to the thousands of disappearances and extrajudicial executions that remain unresolved, and to the survivors who continue their struggle for justice.

Join us — Let's Challenge the Darkness.