Watch Another Punjab Policeman Speak Out about Human Rights Abuses
Last week, Punjab Police Sub-Inspector Surjit Singh publicly stated that former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Paramjit Singh Gill of Amritsar district ordered him to kill 83 men in faked encounters during the 1990s.
Surjit Singh's story is not a singular one. In this video, former Punjab Police officer Lakhwinder Singh describes his experiences in the police force, where he witnessed his colleagues performing torture. He himself narrowly escaped a faked encounter. Lakhwinder Singh describes, however, how the police did kill his father in a faked encounter.
Lakhwinder Singh's story is one of many that call for us to defeat impunity in Punjab. We must continue the fight for justice despite setbacks such as the Punjab and Haryana High Court's dismissal of Surjit Singh's petition seeking protection for his life earlier this week. Surjit Singh has been receiving death threats following last week's announcement and is worried about his and his family's safety. Surjit Singh's lawyer Rajvinder Singh Bains and human rights defender Kirpal Singh Randhawa will now approach the Supreme Court on his behalf.
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 killed human rights defenders such as Jaswant Singh Khalra and Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti, as well as secretly cremated thousands of victims of extrajudicial executions between 1984 and 1995. As demonstrated in Ensaaf's joint report with Human Rights Watch, Protecting the Killers: A Policy of Impunity in Punjab, India (Oct. 2007), India's institutions have failed to acknowledge and address the systematic and widespread nature of the abuses, and accordingly have not provided truth, justice, and reparations to the victims and survivors.