(July 8, 2013) Voices for Freedom (VFF) invokes the international community to turn to the severe   human rights violations being committed in the Indian Panjab under protective shield of the state  agencies.  In a memorandum to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Mon, UN special rapporteur on extra judicial killings and arbitrary executions Professor Christof  Heyns, the state department of United States of America and the foreign offices of United Kingdom, German France and Australia, Voices for Freedom has urged the international body and its respected member states to put pressure on the government of India to investigate the recent confession of Panjab COP Surjit Singh who says that on the orders of his high-ups, he killed 83 Sikhs in false encounters. It is  not the matter to be seen in isolation as there may be hundreds of such officials who might have done the same but do not come forward as they know that the same fake encounter or arbitrary execution may diminish them too.

COP Surjit Singh’s confession of killing Sikh youth in fake encounters during the insurgency period in Panjab, has once again brought to light the atrocities of the Panjab police against the Sikh community. Dozens of reports have been published by number of human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Insaf, Amnesty International etc. describing the custodial and extra-judicial executions of so-called alleged Sikh militants at the hands of law enforcing agencies but the union and the state governments have always shielded all those officers who have been involved in such activities. On the contrary, those who happen to disclose the reality, have to face dire consequences.

Surjit Singh is one such example who, in an interview  with  a local news channel, admitted that he killed 83 youth in police encounters including fake encounters and had even approached SSP Tarn Taran office to expose ‘truth’ where he was reportedly thrashed. He said that the then SSP Parmjit Singh Gill and other police officers used to give temptations to their juniors to kill as many Sikhs as they could regardless whether they were militants or not. He unwontedly obeyed the orders because otherwise he could be sent to enforced disappearance as thousands of innocent Sikhs had been sent by the Panjab police. For this obedience, soon after his joining at Panjab police as a constable in 1990, he was appointed as SHO of Mehta police station.

Surjit says that ever since he has disclosed these realities, he is continuously receiving life threats and he might be banished in a fake encounter.  In a sub-sequent interview, he said that his senior officers are compelling him not to open his mouth. They say, “If you open your mouth, then like Jaswant Singh Khalra who was investigating the 25,000 missing bodies, and went missing himself, the same will happen to you.”

The director Voices for Freedom, Sundip Minhas, speaking on the occasion, said that it is hard to expect from CBI to hold an impartial inquiry into the matter still it is believed that international pressure may force the government agency to probe into the matter neutrally, “moreover, UN and international community must also make some arrangement to send impartial delegations to get a first hand information to set the record straight”, the director added.

Thus VFF invites all the human right organizations to unitedly make efforts to bring all those to justice who brought havoc to the natives of Panjab during 1980s and 90s and even now, they do not miss any opportunity to muffle the dissenting voices.