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Dal Khalsa’s Memorandum to HRW on World Human Rights Day 2011

December 10, 2011 | By

On World Human Rights Day, Dal Khalsa sends memo to HRW
Cataloguing incidents of rights violations of past one year in Punjab
Describes cane-charging on protestors an art of public torture

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Full text of the Memo:

The Director
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York,  NY 10118-3299,


Dear Sir/Madam:

On the occasion of 63rd World Human Rights Day, Dal Khalsa provides a comprehensive, though not exhaustive list, of violations of human rights of ordinary people, unionists and political activists in Punjab at the hands of the already tainted Punjab police in the year 2011. Similar incidents have taken place in the last three years too.

The history of brutality of the Punjab police is notorious worldwide. It has been documented in various human rights status reports of the two decade long Punjab rights struggle by your organisation and many others.

In recent times, it has taken the brutal shape of a police cane. Whenever and wherever there is a political or social protest, water cannons, tear gas and riot control gear are conspicuous by their absence. The ubiquitous “danda” is always at hand. Without permission from any magistrate, under orders of the local police officer, protesting ordinary people, teachers and activists are brutally cane-charged with full impunity. This art of “public torture” reminiscent of justice of medieval times continues unabated in full media glare without remorse, shame or necessity to correct the situation.

We furnish here cases under four categories:

Abolition of Death Penalty
Prisoner of Conscience –Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu
Custodial Deaths

Police beating protestors
Probes by various governmental and semi-governmental authorities have not been able to ensure that the police use humane measures to handle protest situations. Higher courts do not deliver justice to Sikhs and when they do, police does not follow and when this happens, the police is not reprimanded by the courts, so their impunity continues unabatedly.

Dal Khalsa urges you to take up these with the Union government of India. We are particularly concerned about the prospects of retired senior police officers jumping into the political fray. While there is no doubt that every citizen is well within rights to join politics, what concerns us that those who are taking the political route to become lawmakers have a history of gross lawlessness. Many of them have charges framed against them in various courts under various sections of IPC and their trial is on. The public is conscious of their nefarious role in subverting rule of law.

The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of India, in which it has rejected a probe against a police officer, accused for violation of human rights, only on technical grounds, once again shows that the people of Punjab, particularly the Sikhs, are denied equal opportunity when judgements are made. It is shocking that the judges of the Supreme Court, after spending years of hearing the matter, dismissed it without going into the merits of the case.

On the Death Row: Prof. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar continues to be on the death row for the last more than a decade. Many more have been sentenced to death and are either awaiting decision of their clemency petitions or adjudication by higher courts.

Prisoner of Conscience: Bahi Daljit Singh Bittu –a presidium leader of the political party –Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) was arrested on 27 August 2009, without any specific charges, under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. His plea for bail has been dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Daljit Singh is a political dissenter and he is inconvenient to the present establishment of Punjab. It is in pursuance of this undemocratic mission that the government continues to gag him and prolong his detention. Pertinently, Daljit Singh has already served more than 10 years in detention prior to the present arrest.

Shaminder Singh Shera dies in mysterious circumstances:
25 January 2011: Shaminder Singh Shera resident of Baguwal, district Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar died in PGI, Chandigarh. Shera, who appeared in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Jan 3, 2011 revealed how he was kept severely tortured during his illegal police custody at Balachaur police station in Oct, 2010. He pleaded for protection from the High Court as he apprehended threat to his life from the police. Despite High Court orders, Shera was not provided with police protection. On 17 Jan 2011, Shera was attacked by some unknown miscreants near his village with sharp-edge weapons. He was critically injured and was taken to the PGI Hospital, Chandigarh where he died on 25 Jan 2011 succumbing to his injuries.

Custodial Deaths:

Sohan Singh, Amritsar
March 3, 2011: The police arrested Sohan Singh from his in-laws house at village Varpal, near Amritsar and kept him in illegal custody for 3 days. He was shown arrested on 6 March 2011 in a militancy related case. His wife met Sohan Singh in police custody. He told his wife that he was physically tortured and was under immense mental pressure. On March 14, 2011 the police claimed that Sohan Singh had committed suicide in custody. Actually, he died in police custody at Mall Mandi interrogation centre at Amritsar due to severe torture. However, the police concocted the story that Sohan Singh had committed suicide while in custody.

Surjit Singh Makhu
October 28, 2011: Surjit Singh, resident of tehsil Makku district Moga a retired army jawan was found dead in police custody under Station House Officer Gurjant Singh. He was brought to police station in a theft case as he was serving as a Guard in a telephone exchange department. The son of the deceased has blamed the police for torturing his father to death.

Paramjeet Singh Batala
November 18, 2011: Paramjeet Singh, a resident of village Rasulpur Taprian under Fatehgarh Churrian police station in Batala police district died in police custody. He was arrested along with his two brothers in a theft case where he was brutally tortured. After public pressure, police registered a case of negligence against Station House Officer, ASI and other constables.


Jasbir Singh Mullanpur
1 October 2011: SHO Mullanpur Dakha district Ludhiana Prem Singh thrashed and maltreated Army man Jasbir Singh at police station before the eyes of his aged father Harbans Singh. The police implicated 27 year old Jasbir Singh who is posted at Khanpur Camp in Delhi, in two false cases.

Pharmacists beaten
October 6, 2011: Protesting pharmacists were beaten up by the police in the village Khiowali, near Malout, district Bhatinda.

Farmers beaten
October 13 2011: The police cane charged farmers who were protesting against the construction of a boundary wall over a piece of land for the proposed Indiabulls power plant. The police arrested a group villagers heading towards the trouble-torn Gobindpura village, even as a section of farmers held a protest march in the village.

Power Linemen and Computer Teachers Beaten
October 23, 2011: Unemployed power linemen and computer teachers were cane-charged by the police at village Miduhera near Bhatinda.

ETT teachers beaten
October 30, 2011: Protesting ETT teachers especially women were excessively beaten-up by the police at Bhatinda-Mansa chowk.

Unemployed Linemen beaten
November 3, 2011 In the tehsil of Sultanpur Lodhi district Kapurthla unemployed linemen, who were protesting to get the jobs were brutally thrashed by the police.

Unemployed Linemen and ETT teacher’s beaten
November 4, 2011 At Mahal Kalan town, district Barnala, unemployed linemen and ETT teachers were beaten up by the police.
Socio-religio activist Tek Singh Dhanaula, Barnala manhandled

5 November 2011 In violation of Punjab and Haryana High Court, a religious preacher Tek Singh Dhanuala was manhandled and bundled into a vehicle by the policemen outside city police station of Barnala where he went to appear before the station officer in connection with a FIR registered against him. Tek Singh Dhanuala had recently defected from the ruling Akali Dal party and joined another faction of Akali Dal led by former Governor Surjit Singh Barnala.

Power Linemen beaten
November 8, 2011: Police thrashed protesting linemen in full public view at Darbar Ganj district Faridkot where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was to hold Sangat Darshan.

Akali leader Nardev Singh manhandled
November 9, 2011: Sub Inspector Darshan Singh pulled the beard of Akali leader Nardev Singh Aakri and manhandled him in full public view at Patiala.

Health workers beaten:
November 23, 2011: At Mohali-Palsaur border, health workers were protesting for their demands. The police thrashed them with batons.

Veterinary Inspectors beaten
December 3, 2011: In the village of Badal, the protesting veterinary inspectors were beaten up mercilessly by the police.

Teachers beaten

December 06, 2011: The police brutally cane-charged protesting teachers in Sukhna Abloo village of Muktsar district who were demonstrating against the manhandling of one of their woman colleague teacher Varinder Pal Kaur by a sarpanch Baljinder Singh who belonged to ruling party led by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

These abuses widely reported in the media have failed to elicit any reaction from the law-makers in the state of Punjab or the Union government in Delhi. Sadly, they have benumbed the people into a morass, virtually granting impunity to the lawless police force.

We are clearly heading towards a lawless state, where anarchy rules and combined with the economic difficulties of the people, will force the people too to take the law into their hands. This does not portent well for the state and its people and we urge the Human Rights Watch to take this up with appropriate international forums and the Indian government.

Dal Khalsa seeks:

Abolition of death penalty in India. Till that is done, the present moratorium on death penalty must continue.
Bhai Daljit Singh must be immediately released. Human Rights Watch is requested to launch a campaign for his release.
A fresh judicial enquiry into the custodial deaths.
Intervention by all law makers and law enforcing agencies to ensure a more humane approach to protestors than what is being followed by the Punjab police.
Awareness campaign on human rights for all Punjab police personnel from the highest hierarchies to the constabulary.
We are committed to follow up these cases and look forward to your reply.

With Greetings of hope for a better world on this World Human Rights Day


Kanwar Pal Singh
Secretary for Political Affairs
Dal Khalsa.

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