August 30, 2010 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Patiala (August 30, 2010): Marking the “International Day of the Disappeared”, the Sikh Students Federation today voiced concern about the plight of persons, and their families, who have been forced to go missing at the hands of State’s security forces in Punjab during mid-1980s to 1990s. SSF demanded that a specific criminal offence of “enforced disappearance” should be created and, by doing so, India must fulfill the obligation undertaken by it under “Convention for Protection of all persons from enforced disappearance (2007)”, while further insisting that, in order to check future violations, all those responsible for enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, in past, must be brought to book.
“The practice of enforced disappearances in Punjab was followed by security forces in a widespread and systematic manner affecting thousands in numbers.” alleged SSF President Parmjeet Singh Gazi and Vice-President Makhan Singh Gandhuan. They further added that: “in Punjab thousands young Sikhs, who were picked up by the police, are missing; while on the other hand, the records of various cremation grounds of Punjab had revealed that the dead bodies of thousands of persons, mostly young Sikhs, were burnt as unclaimed or unidentified dead bodies.”
SSF has claimed that a working group of the UN has maintained that anti -terrorist activities ‘are being used by an increasing number of States as an excuse for not respecting the obligations of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Disappearance’. “Exactly same thing has happened in case of unidentified dead bodies and enforced disappearances in Punjab.” said PS Gazi, who further maintained that passive attitude of Judiciary has more worsened the situation of Human rights violations. Supporting his argument he claimed that Supreme Court of India has directed the National Human Rights Commission to award compensation to families of 2097 persons illegally cremated in three burning grounds of Amritsar District, but both the apex court and NHRC have altogether ignored the fact that at-least these case also indicate towards commission of 2097 murders (offence U/s 302 of IPC) or culpable homicide not amounting to murder (u/s 304), which need to be investigated as per law.
The Students’ organization has claimed that disappearances and extra-judicial killing of Sr. Jaswant Singh Khalra, Advocate Kulwant Singh Saini, Advocate Surjeet Singh Bhatti, Advocate Satnam Singh Jammu and many others, marks the alarming trend of targeting Human Rights activists and advocates, by State’s forces, about which the concern is also raised by a working group of UN, that: ‘States pose threat to Human rights workers’.
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