Independent Peoples’ Tribunal Press Coverage – April 2017 

‘AAP urges Punjab CM to order probe into extra-judicial killings in state’

‘Fake encounters: Panel to collect data, move SC. Collective case on extra-judicial killings and disappearances during militancy to be filled’

‘Khaira to CM: Probe extra-judicial killings’


‘Two-day independent people’s tribunal on disappeared people in Punjab to be organised in Amritsar’

‘Independent People’s Tribunal – Punjab Disappeared: Extra-Judicial Executions Enforced Disappearance’

‘Disappeared, Denied but not Forgotten: Independent People’s Tribunal hears to testimonies of kins of Victims of Enforced Disappearances in Punjab’



Independent Peoples’ Tribunal Press Release

The Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project (PDAP) in collaboration with Human Rights Law Network, Committee for Co-ordination on Disappearances in Punjab, Lawyers for Human Rights International, the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Khalra Mission Organisation, Sikhs for Human Rights and many other NGO’s and activists are holding a two-day Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) on the issues of enforced disappearances, fake encounters and two decades of the denial of justice and accountability in Punjab.

The IPT will hear testimonies of hundreds of forgotten victims whose loved ones were disappeared and many of whom were cremated as “unclaimed and unidentified” by the Punjab Police in 22 of Punjab’s districts. The Tribunal will provide a unique insight into

the practice of disappearances and extra-judicial killings by taking a victim based approach, offering a platform for the victims to depose before the panel their experiences.

The IPT will hear experiences of lawyers, activists and NGO’s who have pursued cases and struggled for justice and accountability in Punjab.

The Punjab mass disappearances during the Punjab conflict have not received the importance and attention they deserve. An overwhelming number of victim’s voices have never been heard in the public domain. The majority have been awaiting basic acknowledgement, accountability and redress. In a tiny minority of cases which could be pursued through the Courts the victims have been grounded down by the endless facades of litigation.


The Tribune – “Khaira to CM: Probe extra-judicial killings”

Khaira to CM: Probe extra-judicial killings

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 3

Backing the Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) campaign to provide justice to the victims’ families in cases of fake encounters during militancy, AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira said today that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should order a probe into the extra-judicial killings.

Khaira urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of the issue. He said, “Capt Amarinder had resigned as a Congress MP after Operation Bluestar. Following former cop Gurmeet Singh Pinky’s revelations on fake encounters, he had sought a probe into the matter. Now, he should take action on the issues raised by the IPT. A Commission of Inquiry should be set up.”

The AAP leader added, “The families of 2,097 ‘unidentified’ people who were illegally cremated have been seeking justice for the past more than 25 years. No punishment has been meted out to the police officers responsible for large-scale fake encounters.”

Read the original article here.

Times of India – “AAP urges Punjab CM to order probe into extra-judicial killings in state”

CHANDIGARH: Supporting the initiative of the Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) to collect data and details of fake encounters and extra judicial killings in Punjab, AAP Punjab Chief Whip Sukhpal Singh Khaira has urged Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to order a thorough probe into these killings as latter had himself earlier demanded when dismissed police inspector Gurmeet Pinky had made disclosures about these killings.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Khaira, who is spokesperson of Punjab unit of AAP, also argued that when BJP government in Gujarat had passed a law of life imprisonment for killing a cow it should have sensitivity towards killings of humans also. “Cows should be protected but human life should not be less important than a cow’s life and BJP led union government should not dither to order a thorough time bound investigation into the sensational matter of fake encounters and illegitimate and clandestine cremation of thousands of bodies in Punjab,” he said.

Reproducing a statement issued by Captain Amarinder Singh in December 2015 in which he demanded from the state government for a thorough probe in extra judicial killings in Punjab following Pinky’s disclosures, Khaira said that it was never too late to set things right and even cited examples of apology offered by Canada after a century of Kamagatamaru incident to Indians.

AAP leader also held that Supreme Court should take suo moto cognizance of the large scale extra judiocials killings in Punjab as it had already ordered a probe in such killings in Manipur. He said that while speaking for those killed in fake encounters at the same time he strongly condemned the killing of thousands of innocent people and officers of the police force.

He also questioned the complete silence of Sikh religious and political leadership in Punjab when non-Sikhs like senior SC lawyer and Director Human Rights Law Network Colin Gonsalves, former SC Judge AK Ganguly, former Bombay High Court judge Justice Suresh and other activists were taking initiative to get justice for the families of those who were killed in fake encounters. “The families of 2097 unidentified bodies who were illegally and clandestinely cremated in Punjab during the same period, have been running from pillar to post for last more than 25 years for justice but no meaningful punishment has been meted out to the police officers responsible for such large scale fake encounters,” Khaira said. “These cold blooded murders and denials of justice remains a blot on the democracy of India, its judicial system and the executive,” he said adding that justice was neither delivered for massacre of Sikhs in November 1984.


Read the original article here.

The Tribune – “Fake encounters: Panel to collect data, move SC”

Collective case on extra-judicial killings and disappearances during militancy to be filed

Fake encounters: Panel to collect data, move SC
Family members of youths killed during the militancy period, in Amritsar on Saturday. tribune photo

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 1

The Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT), an outfit of human rights organisations, will collect information on extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances during the militancy era to the Supreme Court.

Senior SC lawyer and Director, Human Rights Law Network, Colin Gonsalves, said, a collective case of such executions and disappearances would be prepared in the next six months and it would be filed in the apex court. After the verdict of the SC in a similar case in Manipur, hope for the affected families of Punjab for justice has rekindled.

Retired SC Judge AK Ganguly, said, it was disappointing that the courts did not take notice of human rights violations in Punajb at that time. Such violations were undergoing in Manipur, Chattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir.


Groups of victims from these states must approach the judiciary to direct the governments concerned to reform its working, he added.

Advocate Barjinder Singh Sodhi from Patiala, who is pursuing such cases, said justice has not been delivered in the case of the cremating 2,097 unidentified bodies and investigation was started only in 30 cases.

The organisations today came together to form the IPT to discuss – Punjab Disappeared: On extra judicial executions and enforced disappearances during days of terrorism’ for two days starting today.

Family members of about 400 affected families from Gurdaspur district participated and narrated their cases.

Members of the Jury panel for the IPT included Justice Ganguly, Suresh, a retired Judge of the Bombay HC, Kavita Srivastava, National Convener, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Soni Sori, a Tribal activist from Chattisgarh, Babloo Loitongbam, Human rights activist from Manipur, Tapan Bose, secretary general of South Asia Forum for Human Rights and documentary film maker, Praveena Ahanger, Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Kashmir and Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra.

IPT moderator Satnam Singh Bains said they will hear testimonials of hundreds of forgotten victims.

Human rights activists from Manipur and Kashmir valley sought repeal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).

Activists of Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project (PDAP), Human Rights Law Network, Committee for Co-ordination on Disappearances in Punjab, Lawyers for Human Rights International, Punjab Human Rights Organistion, Khalra Mission Organisation, Sikhs for Human Rights and others took part in the deliberations.

Read the original article here.