India Must be Held Accountable for Manipur Fake Encounter

(Ottawa, August 07, 2009) - The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) condemns the continuing human rights violations and fake encounter killings being carried out by security forces in India.  Tehelka Newsmagazine in its August 8, 2009 edition has published photographs of the broad daylight murder of 27 year old Chongkham Sanjit in a fake encounter by Indian Security Forces in the state of Manipur.  While Manipur police commandos claimed that the dead man, whom they accused of being a member of a banned separatist group, was armed and killed in an encounter, Tehlka’s photographs show Indian commandos approaching the unarmed Mr. Sanjit, taking him into a pharmacy and then emerging with his lifeless corpse.  This execution took place only 500m away from the state’s legislative assembly. 

Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal, International President of the WSO, stated, “The recent photographs by Tehelka are only the latest confirmation of the long standing Indian practice of killing alleged suspects in staged encounters. We applaud the bravery of the photographer who captured these images, and hope that the international community will do its utmost to protect him.  India’s history of treatment of individuals who try to expose police atrocities, is rife with bloodshed.  This was the case with human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who exposed thousands of police “disappearances” in Punjab, only to be disappeared himself by the Indian police in 1995.”

Said Gian Singh Sandhu, Senior Policy Advisor of the WSO, “The international community must awaken to the police atrocities that have become a party of daily life in India.  The Tehelka expose comes in the wake of the August 4, 2009, release of Human Rights Watch’s report, "Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse and Impunity in the Indian Police" which documents a range of human rights violations committed by Indian police, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and extrajudicial killings. According to Human Rights Watch’s report, the Indian policing system facilitates and even encourages human rights abuses. Yet the world community remains silent.” 

Despite India’s claims of being the world’s largest democracy on the fast-track to becoming an economic powerhouse, little has been done to improve its abysmal human rights record.  WSO President, Gurpreet Singh Bal, stated, “India must be held accountable for the actions of its security forces including widespread torture, arbitrary detentions and disappearances.  The murder of Chongkhan Sanjit should be a wakeup call to the world community to take note of the human rights abuses occurring in India.  Diplomatic pressure must be exerted on India to bring these practices to an end.” 
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For more information, please contact Maj (retd.) Jasbeer Singh, Media Relations, Tel. 780-457-3333, Cell. 780-235-6000 -  Email: [email protected]
Gian Singh Sandhu, Tel. 250-305-2440  -  Email: [email protected]

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