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Dead Silence: The Lagacy of Human Rights Abuses in Punjab


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Silence: The Legacy of Human Rights Abuses in Punjab is a report that was prepared by Physicians for Human Rights (U.S.) and was published by Human Rights Watch in 1994.

"This report documents incidents of torture, extrajudicial executions and disappearances which took place mostly in the first nine months of 1992, at the height of the government crackdown."

The report looks at the human rights violations that were attributed to the government and militants.

There is a section called "Violations of Humanitarian Law By Militants" which covers all the different incidents of violence that were associated with militants.

I, like many of you, am aware that "Black Cats" and police sponsored armed groups such as "Alam Sena" were responsible for many acts of violence that were blamed on militant Sikhs. However, this report does not hold "black cats" or police backed armed groups responsible for any such act. The report suggests that all acts of violence attributed to militants was indeed done by militants, and was not a result of government groups acting to discredit and defame, the Khalistan movement.

The two references to "Black Cats" come on Page 23 and Page 51. "Black Cats" are described as "undercover agents" that "identify, kidnap and kill suspected militants" who have been employed by the Punjab police. They are not stated to be responsible for acts of violence conducted to defame the Khalistan movement anywhere in the report.

The report gives many dated incidents where violence was perpetrated by militants.

On page 89 the report states that "In June 1991, militants opened fire on two passenger trains in Punjab killing at least one hundred and ten civilians."

We need as a collective community need to analyze the different incidents of violence, research to uncover additional information, and conclude whether these acts were conducted by militants or black cats.

Greater clarity to what actually happened and who was responsible for what would be beneficial to the Sikh peoples' continuing struggle. By being able to highlight and prove additional incidents of violence that the Punjab government was responsible for the Sikh people would alleviate wrongful blame put onto Sikh militants.

All incidents of violence against innocent people conducted by Sikhs should be wholeheartedly condemned.

I implore those of you who are well versed and educated to analyze this report, check and confirm the different events, bring forward new information, and come to a conclusion about what really happened in Punjab.

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