Appointment of Sumedh Saini an Insult to the Rule of Law

Ottawa (March 18, 2012):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has written to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, expressing disappointment at the appointment of Mr. Sumedh Saini as Director General of the Punjab Police.  Saini is accused of serious human rights violations including abduction, illegal detention and torture and is currently under trial for murder. 

After being sworn in for a record fifth term on March 14, 2012, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced the appointment of Sumedh Saini as the new Director General of Police.  Saini’s selection came despite five Punjab Police officers who supersede him in seniority. 

Saini is currently facing trial in the abduction and murder case of Vinod Kumar who was abducted and disappeared in 1994 along with his brother-in-law and drive

During the late 80s and 90s, Saini was posted to areas in Punjab where severe human rights abuses took place.  He has been implicated in the abduction, torture and killing of several Sikh youth during that period.

In his letter to Chief Minister Badal, WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “the appointment of Mr. Saini as DGP of the Punjab Police is in opposition to all human rights norms.  It defies logic that an individual who currently faces trial for abduction and murder can be appointed to this post.  We believe Mr. Saini’s appointment is an insult to the rule of law.”

WSO’s senior Policy Advisor, Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Punjab continues to matter to Canadian Sikhs as many of us have our family and roots there.  Saini is a renowned violator of human rights and stories of his atrocities are infamous.   His appointment is a regressive measure that certainly does not bode well for human rights in Punjab.”

Sumedh Saini Fact Sheet

  • Saini allegedly armed and gave police immunity to a vigilante group under the command of Ajit Poohla which was responsible for attacks on the families of suspected ‘militants’
  • On July 12, 1992 near Ambala (Haryana) a car was signaled to stop by plain clothes members of the Punjab Police under the command of then SSP Sumedh Saini.  The occupants of the car believed the police officers to be criminals and tried to speed away.  The Punjab Police officers chased the car and indiscriminately opened fire, killing the unarmed occupants, Jaswinder Singh (28), his four year-old son and brother-in-law Jasbir Singh.  The Police claimed that they had been informed that the car was driven by terrorists.  A murder case was registered against Sumedh Saini by the High Court.
  • Sumedh Saini suspected that Punjab Police Constable Manjit Singh was aiding militants.  He was arrested on August 16, 1993 and kept in police station Sector 26, Chandigarh.  Manjit Singh was severely tortured by Saini and he was released the following day with severe injuries including electrical shocks, broken bones and gouge marks all over his body.  Manjit Singh died under medical treatment.  His wife, Karamjit Kaur filed a petition asking for a formal post mortem.  The post mortem report found that Manjit Singh had died due to multiple external injuries
  • Saini abducted a Sikh youth by the name of Parminder Singh alias “Heera”.  During a week of interrogation, Heera was severely tortured.  He was presented before the Court of Judicial Magistrate at Chandigarh for a 10 day police remand at which time he was severely injured with multiple bleeding wounds and badly scratched eye lids.  Despite his injuries, Heera was remanded to custody another week without any medical treatment.   According to then SSP of Ropar, Mohammad Mustapha (now ADGP Punjab), Saini later killed Heera and dumped his body in Ropar and asked the Ropar Police to report that he had been killed while trying to escape
  • Sumedh Saini has been implicated in the abduction and disappearance of Davinderpal Singh Bhullar’s father Balwant Singh, best friend Balwant Singh Multani and his maternal uncle.  All three were allegedly held in custody and tortured before being killed.  Although charges were filed against Saini, they were thrown out by the Indian Supreme  Court due to legal technicalities
  • According to the Times of India, since 1990, Saini has been forcibly occupying a government allotted residence in Chandigarh’s Sector 16.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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