Advocacy group to move SC with ‘evidence’ of Punjab disappearances, fake encounters
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The Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project (PDAP) Saturday said it will approach the Supreme Court with “verifiable evidence” of over 8,000 extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in Punjab during 1980-1995.

The group, a part of The Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT), an outfit of human rights organisations, will also be asking the apex court to give a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to families of each of the persons who went missing, The Tribune reports.

Addressing the media in Chandigarh , Justice Suresh (retired from the Bombay High Court); Satnam Singh Bains, human rights activist; Kavita Srivastava, national convener, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties; and Paramjit Kaur Khalra of Khalra Mission Organisation said they had collated compelling information of 8,257 cases of enforced disappearance and fake encounters, following a seven-year investigation.

Their report “Indentifying the Unidentified” reveals unknown, unclaimed and unidentified mass cremations, which they claim is verifiable evidence of the killings by the Punjab Police and security services across Punjab.

The initial investigation report was released by the group in Amritsar in April this year. A group of retired judges, lawyers and activists from across the country had then come and heard testimonies of 700 victim families. Their report also considers the recent failings of the National Human Rights Commission in the “Punjab mass cremations” case, based on the work of slain human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra.

Satnam Singh Bains, representing PDAP, claimed that they have identified and documented hundreds of victims who were allegedly “cremated as unclaimed unidentified” and killed in “fake encounters”.

“In our seven-year long investigation, we have identified 8,257 persons from different sources who disappeared from 1980 to 1995 in Punjab,” he claimed.

Bains said the records pertaining to “disappeared” people were collected by visiting villages, meeting victims’ family members and also from media reports.

“The latest report is a further step in the long struggle by people of Punjab for justice and accountability for victims and for their kin,” Bains said.

Retired Bombay High Court judge Justice Suresh, who was also present, said, “people disappeared. They (their families) have the right to know why they disappeared. They have the right to know why human right violations took place.”

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) national convener Kavita Srivastava, while speaking on the occasion, sought formation of a judicial commission under retired sitting judge of the Supreme Court to probe the “disappearance” of the people.

Bains said they will soon move to the Supreme Court with the findings of their report and demand detailed investigation in the matter.

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