CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AT AMRITSARINTRODUCTIONA One day consultation on Human Rights and Law was organised b...
From Left to Right: Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur,Advocate Navkiran Singh, Bibi Parveena Ahan...
Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra on the forced Disappearances:                Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra addressing the gatherin...
Advocate RajvinderSingh BainsAdvocate RajvinderSingh Bains shared with the house that people of Punjab and Kashmirhave sha...
Advocate Navkiran Singh         He further pointed out that Indian state and society has double standards on the issueof d...
his family were responsible for his involvement in the heinous crime resulting in death of 164persons. But Kasab‟s convers...
and misuse of sedition and the said “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act” in Punjab againstpolitical activists.          ...
Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon on History of Human Rights Violations in India:Sixth session started after lunch with the add...
genocide. Under Indian law a person could only be punished for murder or inflicting severinjury even if the aim of massacr...
ethe … eh sarkari attvaad je). He informed that many senior police officers tried to bribe himto induce him to withdraw le...
agitating for their fundamental rights so that the brutal forces of the State can be       effectively countered.         ...
Consultation on Human Rights and Law                             November 25th 2012  Venue: Om International, GT Road, Put...
News ClippingHuman rights activists seek abolition of death penaltyTribune News ServiceAmritsar, November 25Various human ...
Advocate Navkiran Singh from Lawyers for Human Rights, advocate Colling Gonzalves fromHuman Rights Law Network and advocat...
Scrap Death Penalty: Rights Bodies Meet                                                                             Capita...
CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AT AMRITSAR
CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AT AMRITSAR
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CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AT AMRITSAR

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A One day consultation on Human Rights and Law was organised by: Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) in collaboration with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Punjab Human Rights Organization (PHRO) on 25.11.2012 at Om International, Putlighar at Amritsar (Punjab). More than 200 persons including Lawyers, Social Activists and NGOs working actively on the issue in the State of Punjab, victims of state repression, family members of the persons of the forced disappearances, fake encounters, secret killings, cremations and some students participated in the said consultation.

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CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AT AMRITSAR

  1. 1. CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LAW AT AMRITSARINTRODUCTIONA One day consultation on Human Rights and Law was organised by: Khalra MissionOrganisation (KMO) in collaboration with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), PunjabHuman Rights Organization (PHRO) on 25.11.2012 at Om International, Putlighar atAmritsar (Punjab). More than 200 persons including Lawyers, Social Activists and NGOsworking actively on the issue in the State of Punjab, victims of state repression, familymembers of the persons of the forced disappearances, fake encounters, secret killings,cremations and some students participated in the said consultation.THE OBJECTIVE OF THE MEETING:The objective of the meeting was to discuss and understand the present status of the HumanRights and its violations by the State Agencies and to evolve a future strategy to curb theviolation after consultation with the groups and the persons working on the issue.
  2. 2. From Left to Right: Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur,Advocate Navkiran Singh, Bibi Parveena Ahangar, Dr. Binayak Sen and Colin Gonsalves.The agenda of the consultation was divided into seven sessions. During the first session BibiParmjeet Kaur Khalra (Khalra Mission Organization), Advocate RajvinderSingh Bains(Punjab Human Rights Organization) and Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur (Sikhs forHuman Rights) presented their views on “Arrest, Fake Encounters and Torture”.The issue of “Death Penalty” was discussed by Advocate Navkiran Singh (Lawyers forHuman Rights International) and Advocate Colin Gonsalves (Human Rights Law Network) inthe second session.Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema (Sikhs for Human Rights) discussed the current situation inPunjab in the third brief session.Parveena Ahangar (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons) discussed the currentsituation in Kashmir in the fourth session.Dr. Binayak Sen (People‟s Union for Civil Liberties) critically discussed the issue of law of“Sedition” in India during the fifth session.In the sixth session that was held after lunch, Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, author of“India Commits Suicide” and a retired Professor of History; Advocate Parmjeet Singh Gazi(Sikhs for Human Rights) and Mr. Satnam Singh Bains, Barrister (UK), presented their viewson “Genocide in India”.In the last session, future strategy and Vote of Thanks was presented by Advocate VeenaKumari (Human Rights Law Network).
  3. 3. Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra on the forced Disappearances: Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra addressing the gatheringDuring her address Bibi Parmjeet Kaur Khalra, wife of Legendary Human Rights ActivistShaheed Jaswant Singh Khalra, discussed at length the practice of the forced disappearancesin India, particularly in Punjab and Kashmir. She shared with the house her personalexperiences in this regard and narrated the circumstances surrounding the forceddisappearance, murder and secret cremation of her husband.Bibi Khalra shared that Late. Sh. Jaswant Singh Khalra had unearthed the wide-spread andsystematic forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and secret cremations of Sikhs byIndian security forces during 1980s-90s in Punjab. She also shared that even the Apex Courtof India has accepted the fact that at-least 2097 Sikhs were subjected to forceddisappearance, secret killings and cremations in three sub-divisions of District Amritsar. Shefurther added that the above said number of forced disappearances pertains only to the threesub-divisions of Punjab but no data is available for rest of the State.She also shared that CBI had taken the relevant records for rest of Punjab in it‟s custodyafter the disappearance of S. Jaswant Singh Khalra but now that record is not accessible. Sheadded that Indian judiciary, National Human Rights Commission and CBI have failed toproceed against the culprit police officials till date.
  4. 4. Advocate RajvinderSingh BainsAdvocate RajvinderSingh Bains shared with the house that people of Punjab and Kashmirhave shared the plight so far as the forced disappearances of civilians in the hands ofSecurity forces are concerned. He said that the forced disappearance undermines the value ofbasic rights and threatens the life and liberty of individuals. Advocate Jaspal Singh ManjhpurAdvocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur said that India has failed to meet the International LegalStandards to prevent the forced disappearances and torture. Custodial torture is a daily affairof policing in India and the forced disappearance is common in the areas where the people arepolitically in conflict with the Indian state.Advocate Navkiran Singh on Death Penalty:Advocate Navkiran Singh, during his address in the second session shared that there is aglobal trend in favour of abolition of death penalty. He pointed out that death penalty isconsidered to be a wrongful form of punishment due to various reasons. He said that hangingof Ajmal Kasab has revealed that Indian state, media and many sections of the society are infavour of retention of death penalty and after the hanging of Kasab now the media is wavingfor the early execution of Afzal Guru.
  5. 5. Advocate Navkiran Singh He further pointed out that Indian state and society has double standards on the issueof death penalty. On one hand our Government, Media, Political Parties and CertainSections of the Civil Society want execution of Afzal Guru and others; but on other hand thesame sections are opposing the hanging of Sarabjit Singh who is facing execution threat inPakistan for allegedly triggering blasts and killing civilians.While referring to the cases of Dara Singh (Orisa) and Kishori Lal (Delhi) he wanted to pointout that even judiciary has double standards while applying the death sentence.He clarified that he was against the execution of any person in the name of justice. He calledupon human rights bodies to continue with their efforts to secure abolition of death penalty inIndia. Advocate Colin Gonsalves on Death Penalty:Senior Lawyer, Advocate Colin Gonsalves too discussed the issue of death penalty. He saiddeath penalty undermines the fact that human beings can be reformed. Discussing theexecution of Ajmal Kasab, he said that certain specific circumstances surrounding Kasab and
  6. 6. his family were responsible for his involvement in the heinous crime resulting in death of 164persons. But Kasab‟s conversations with his lawyer revealed that he was very regretful forwhat he did, and he had the potential for reformation but his hanging has ended it all.While referring to the case of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, Advocate Colin Gonsalves saidthat Rajoana had admitted that he was involved in the assassination of Punjab CM BeantSingh. Rajoana feels that CM Beant Singh was responsible for mass level human rightsabuses in Punjab including forced disappearances and fake encounters of Sikh youth.Advocate Gonsalves said Rajoana‟s case was exceptional one. It‟s a political case. He saidthat Rajoana is a political activist like Bhagat Singh.While discussing the case of Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar he said even presidingjudge of the three judges bench of Supreme court had acquitted Professor Bhullar but he isstill facing execution threat.Advocate Colin Gonsalves was hopeful that one day death penalty shall be abolished inIndia. Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema on Current Situation in Punjab:In the third session, Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema discussed the current situation inPunjab. While referring to recent arrests of Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu and Bhai Kulvir SinghBarapind, he said that “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act” was being widely misused inPunjab to suppress the political dissent. He said that the said Act is a replacement of TADA,a law that was widely misused by the State against the Sikhs during 1980s-90s. He calledupon India‟s human rights groups to lobby and to take notice of the arrests of Sikh leaders
  7. 7. and misuse of sedition and the said “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act” in Punjab againstpolitical activists. Parveena Ahangar on Current Situation in Kashmir:In the fourth session, Parveena Ahangar discussed the current situation in Kashmir. Sheshared with the house that her son, a young student, was arrested by Indian Security Forcesin August 1990 and there are no whereabouts of her son till date. She said more than threethousand families in Kashmir are victims of such disappearance at the hands of IndianSecurity Forces.She shared that she wants answer to a simple question from India: “Where is her son?”,“What has been done to my son by the Indian Security Forces?”. I do not wantcompensation, even worth billions but only I want my son back.She said all the laws are enacted for civilians in India but there is no law to punish thepersonnel of security forces if they kill innocent civilians.She shared that “Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons” wants justice forthe affected families of Kashmir. Dr. Binayak Sen on Sedition:Dr. Binayak Sen, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Trial Court on charges of“sedition”, said that his case was under consideration of High Court. He has been grantedbail by the Supreme Court of India. He said law of sedition undermines the fundamentalfreedom of speech and expression and is being widely misused in India. He informed that hewas a doctor and worked for the welfare of tribal‟s in the State of Chhatisgarh. Dr Sen isalso associated with People‟s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL.
  8. 8. Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon on History of Human Rights Violations in India:Sixth session started after lunch with the address by Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon. Hetraced the history of human rights abuses in India since 1947. He said that 1947 events wereevents of partition and not independence and no freedom arrived for cultural, religious orlinguistic minorities in 1947. The concept of building a nation-state in India laid thefoundation of genocide of Sikhs.Dr. Dhillon said India did not spare Sikh children in 1984 and they were termed as terrorists.He said 39 Sikh children aged between 2 to 12 years were arrested by Indian security forcesfrom Darbar Sahib complex, when Indian army invaded the sacred complex in June 1984.There are historical evidences to the fact that these children were categorized as“dangerous”, “most dangerous” and “potentially dangerous”. A CBI officer replied to aquery by a journalist regarding detention and categorization of these children that the issuemight be an interesting subject for the newspaper stories but according to him these childrenare only would be terrorists. Dr. Dhillon asked if a state could term children of two years aswould be terrorists then what sort of human rights we could expect from that state.Advocate Parmjeet Singh Gazi on Genocide:Advocate Parmjeet Singh Gazi discussed legal as well as other aspects related to genocide.He said genocide is considered as “Crime of Crimes” or most severe crime. He discussedcircumstances surrounding the development of genocide law at International Level. He saidthere are certain other aspects related to genocide that are not covered by International Law.He shared that it is a systematic plan to destroy the basic foundations of life of a minoritygroup, including destruction of social and political institutions, economic resources and evennational feelings of the targeted group.He shared that it‟s a general conception that large scale massacres are necessary forgenocide but this conception is incorrect. He said that such conceptions may haveapplication so as to prove the case of genocide under international law but so far asacademic discourse is concerned the term genocide connotates many acts, other thanphysical massacres.Discussing the situation in India he said that “genocide” is not considered a crime in Indiaas there is no law that defines, prohibits or provide punishment for committing or attempting
  9. 9. genocide. Under Indian law a person could only be punished for murder or inflicting severinjury even if the aim of massacre was to eliminate a religious or linguistic minority group orany other identifiable group whose planned annihilation is covered by the definition ofgenocide under international law. Barrister Satnam Singh, UK Barrister Satnam Singh (UK) on Genocide in India:Barrister Satnam Singh (UK) said people of Punjab and Kashmir have shared the plight sofar as mass level human rights violations are concerned. He raised the question that whyIndian civil society was unconcerned on the issue of wide-spread impunity. He emphasized oncoordinated efforts to address the issue of human rights violations in India. Sri Chaman Lal: Chaman Lal holding photo of his son Gulshan KumarOn this occasion Sri Chaman Lal of TarnTaran shared information about his son GulshanKumar who was subjected to the forced disappearance by Punjab police in June 1994. Hesaid that he was alive only to depose against the police officers who arrested his son, killedhim and cremated him secretly. Sri Chaman Lal said that there was no terrorism orseparatism in Punjab except State terrorism (Punjab vich koe attvaad ni, koe vakhvaad ni,
  10. 10. ethe … eh sarkari attvaad je). He informed that many senior police officers tried to bribe himto induce him to withdraw legal proceedings initiated against the culprit police officials. Heshared that he would not accept any amount of money as he wants justice for his innocentson.S. Satnam Singh Manak:S. Satnam Singh Manak, a former Punjab police cop, also addressed the gathering. He saidthat he witnessed deaths of many innocents at the hands of Punjab police and resigned fromthe police force. He stood witness in many inquiries regarding fake encounters of Sikh youthby Punjab police. He said that Punjab police subjected him and his family members to tortureand they faced life threats.Joint Resolution:Advocate R.S. Bains at the end of this consultation shared with the house the resolutionpassed jointly adopted by the various human rights organizations and the same follows: We firstly pay our tribute to the people who have disappeared and are victims at the hands of the state and their whereabouts are not known till date. We oppose the death penalty in principle, as it does not have any deterrent effect on others and eye for an eye breads further violence. We also feel that the people facing death penalty should be given a chance to live and reform themselves. National Human Rights Commission and various State Human Rights Commissions have failed even to become effective re-commendatory bodies and so we feel there is a need to hold Independent People Tribunal in various States of India to gather information on human rights violations. We resolve to constitute Independent People Tribunal. It is being experienced in various parts of the country that Peoples‟ organizations that are in disagreement with the policies of the State and are agitating in a democratic manner, their voices are being suppressed by booking them under several undemocratic laws such as Sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Armed Forces Act. We resolve to work democratically for abolition of such laws to uphold the human rights of the people and also to coordinate with Human Rights Organizations who are
  11. 11. agitating for their fundamental rights so that the brutal forces of the State can be effectively countered. Joint resolution by:1. Khalra Mission Org.2. Punjab Human Rights Org.3. Human Rights Law Network4. Lawyers for Human Rights International5. World Sikh Org.6. Peoples Union for Civil Liberties7. Sikhs for Human Rights8. Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons.Advocate Veena Kumari also presented the vote of thanks to all the participants anddignitaries.NOTE: Invite, Agenda and the News Clipping are attached herewith.
  12. 12. Consultation on Human Rights and Law November 25th 2012 Venue: Om International, GT Road, Putlighar, Near Ranjit Hospital Amritsar AGENDA10:30 – 11:30 Arrest, Fake Encounters and 1. Bibi Parmjit Kaur Khalraam Torture (Chair) 2. Adv. RajvinderSingh Bains ( Punjab Human Rights Organization) 3. Adv. Jaspal Singh Manjpur ( Sikhs For Human Rights)11:30 – 12:15 Death Penalty 1. Adv. Navkiran Singh (chair)pm (Lawyers for Human Rights International) 2. Adv. Colin Gonsalves ( Human Rights Law Network)12:15 – Current Situation in Punjab Adv. Harpal Singh Cheema12:30pm ( Sikhs For Human Rights)12:30 – 1:00pm Current Situation in Kashmir Ms. Parveena Ahangar ( Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons)1:00 – 1:30pm Sedition Dr. Binayak Sen ( Peoples Union of Civil Liberties)1:30 – 2:15pm Lunch cum Press Conference2:15 – 3:00pm Genocide in India 1. Dr. G S Dhillon 2. Adv. Parmjit Singh Ghazi (Sikh for Human Rights) 3. Mr. Satnam Singh Bains, Barrister (UK)3:00 – 3:30pm Future Strategy Vote of Thanks Adv. Veena Kumari ( Human Rights Law Network)3:30 – 3:45pm Tea
  13. 13. News ClippingHuman rights activists seek abolition of death penaltyTribune News ServiceAmritsar, November 25Various human rights organisations that arefighting against violations by paramilitaryforces and police in different states today cametogether and passed a resolution for abolitionof capital punishment, stopping misuse ofsedition laws and setting up of independent Dr Binayak Sen at a seminar ontribunals for free and fair probe into such ‘Consultation for Human Rights and Law’cases. in Amritsar on Sunday. Tribune photoThe resolution was passed in a conference on „Human rights and laws‟ organised by theKhalra Mission Organisation here. Prominent among those who attended the conference washuman rights activist from Chhattisgarh Binayak Sen.Addressing the gathering, Sen alleged that sedition laws were being misused in the country.He alleged that human rights were being violated in the name of sedition laws.Giving an example of his own case, he said he was a pediatrician and had been working inthe tribal belt. “I raised my voice for the rights of tribals, but was booked under seditionlaws,” he said.Sen was released following the directions of the Supreme Court.Parveen Hangar from the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Kashmir, allegedthat over 10,000 persons, most of them youth, had “disappeared” in Srinagar alone. Sherevealed that her own son Javed Hamid Hangar had been missing since August 18, 1990.She alleged that he was taken away by the security forces, following which there was noinformation about him. “Are laws only framed for the common man? Don‟t they apply on thesecurity forces,” she asked. She alleged large-scale human rights violations in the Kashmirvalley.
  14. 14. Advocate Navkiran Singh from Lawyers for Human Rights, advocate Colling Gonzalves fromHuman Rights Law Network and advocate RS Bains from Punjab Human RightsOrganisation demanded that the capital punishment should be abolished in India and saidthe prisoners should instead be given an opportunity to reform themselves.“Death penalty is being awarded for killing a VIP, but those involved in murder of a commonman are being given some other sentence,” they said. They alleged that there were politicalinterests behind decisions being taken on mercy petitions. They also spoke against hanging26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab while saying that he should have been given a chance to reform.Khalra Mission chief Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra spoke out against fake encounters andtorture by police and paramilitary forces.Later, Binayak Sen paid obeisance at the Golden Temple.
  15. 15. Scrap Death Penalty: Rights Bodies Meet Capital punishment in India is being selectively used for various reasons RAJVINDERS BAINS activist of Punjab Human Rights Organisation AMRITSAR: A conclave of human rights groups organised by the Human Rights LawNetwork to abolish death penalty was held here on Sunday. P unjab Human Rights Organisation activist RajvinderSingh Bains and high court lawyerNavkiran Singh said death penalty was not a deterrent to crime; on the contrary it bredviolence. People facing the death penalty should be given a chance to live and reform, theysaid. “Capital punishment in India is being selectively used for various reasons,” Bains said.“While in some cases death penalty pronounced by trial courts is converted to lifeimprisonment by the higher courts without citing valid reasons, in others cases, particularlythose where a political leader has been assassinated, it is upheld by the higher courts, citingthem as the “rarest of rare cases”. Bains and Sigh agreed that the condition of “rarest of the rare” was being misused touphold death sentences. “Capital punishment has been abolished even in a country like Israel,where there have been numerous cases of terrorist violence,” they said. Dr Binayak Sen of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) spoke about the mannerin which sedition cases were being registered against human rights activists. He said thePUCL would collect 10 lakh signatures and present it to Parliament for bringing aboutchanges in the laws under which sedition cases were being registered. Human Rights Law Network chairperson Colin Gonsalves said the National HumanRights Commission and state human rights commissions had failed to become effectiverecommendatory bodies. “We resolve to constitute independent people’s tribunals in all statesof India to gather information on human rights violations,” said Gonsalves while moving aresolution at the meeting.

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