The Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project’s (PDAP) was formed in 2008 with the purpose of uncovering and documenting human rights abuses committed by the police and security forces in Punjab, during the 1980s and 1990s.
The PDAP promotes rule of law and redressal for human rights violations through a variety of legal mechanisms, including the Indian courts and the Supreme Court of India to achieve justice for the victims, reinforce the duty of accountability of public bodies and ensure access to the legal process to communities and individuals affected by enforced disappearances in Punjab.
Our initial research and documentation developed into an expansive enquiry into killings and secret cremations of dead bodies that took place across Punjab. We are in the process of investigating 8,257 cases of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings across the state of Punjab. We have also uncovered 6,224 cases of dead bodies, which were cremated while being unclaimed and/or unidentified across 14 of Punjab’s 22 districts. In April 2017, our findings led to the convening of an Independent People Tribunal (IPT) in Amritsar, Punjab comprising of an expert panel of jurists, lawyers and activists from across India, which sat for two days and heard the testimonies and depositions of over 400 victim families.
To this end, on behalf of the victims’ families, PDAP is currently in the process of petitioning the Supreme Court to re-iterate its demand for the establishment of an independent judicial inquiry in accordance with the Constitution of India and international human rights norms, to identify Punjab’s missing.. The Indian state has a duty to investigate and prosecute all cases of violations of human rights by people in public office or acting on behalf of the state, including security forces and police and for providing truth, justice and accountability to their victims of state crimes.
PDAP shares the determination of surviving family members and friends of those disappeared to see justice done and perpetrators being held to account. We will continue to strive towards providing a platform for victims to tell of their experiences and grievances, having had no opportunity to do so before.
We believe that only genuine accountability will prevent the patterns of violence being continually repeated in other conflicts in India. To this end, we are fully committed to increasing awareness of human rights and bring its discourse into the mainstream consciousness in India so that people reject violent and repressive actions, wherever they occur and whoever carries them out.