Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India
A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis
January 26, 2009
♦ The strong, positive correlation between the reported acts of lethal violence and "illegal cremations" acknowledged by the NHRC is inconsistent with official claims that that these reported disappeared persons are not dead but instead immigrated abroad.
♦ Age-sex data on reported victims of enforced disappearances, collected by the PCHR, CCDP, and NHRC, are consistent with the hypothesis that these violations were overwhelmingly targeted against young Sikh males between the ages of 18 and 45 whom security forces alleged were members of the militant movement.
Future analyses, which draw on multiple data sources and inferential statistical methods, will allow for clarification of the total magnitude and patterns of violence throughout Punjab, broadening the discussion about the impact of counterinsurgency strategies on human rights. Scientifically defensible analysis of political violence can help enable honest dialogue to improve public understanding of the counterinsurgency in Punjab. By triangulating independent data sources and employing reproducible scientific methods, questions about the magnitude, pattern, and responsibility associated with lethal violations connected to the Punjab counterinsurgency can be engaged transparently. The answers to these questions will ultimately strengthen truth, justice, and institutional reform processes.