Counter-Insurgency Operations in Punjab: Enforced Disappearances, Staged Encounters & Extra-Judicial Executions.

In the immediate aftermath of 1984, a number of counter-insurgency operations were conducted in Punjab. Operation Woodrose followed Operation Bluestar in the same year; the ‘Bullet for Bullet’ policy between 1985-1988, Operation Black Thunder in 1988, Operation Rakhshak-1 in 1991, Operation Rakshak-2 and Operation Night Dominance in 1992. These operations were largely led by Punjab police, aided and assisted by central paramilitary forces including, but not limited to, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) and units of the Indian army. In Punjab, targeted ‘encounter’ killings and enforced disappearances were carried out in the name of national security by security forces with the protection provided by India’s draconian laws.

The 1980 National Security Act (NSA), amended in 1984, gave police powers to preventively detain people suspected of activities prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations of India with foreign powers or the security of India, for up to two years in Punjab and up to one year in the rest of India. The Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Act followed the NSA in 1984. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, in force from 1985 to 1995, subsequently provided the police in Punjab with sweeping powers of arrest and detention. In 1984 the Indian Army was deployed and the Armed Forces (Punjab and Chandigarh) Special Powers Act was introduced.