Film on missing youth of Punjab calls for justice
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 26
A documentary on the alleged disappearances of thousands of youth from Punjab during the 1980s and 1990s was screened in Delhi here on Friday evening seeking to reignite the spark to seek justice for the victims.
Satnam Singh Bains, a barrister in the United Kingdom and human-rights activist, making the opening statement, said: “This documentary takes you to the deepest and darkest hour of Punjab. It’s about the desire to seek justice and renew the spark for justice for the disappearances that took place between 1984 and 1995”.
He quoted the Khalra Commission that documented 8,257 killings. “Victims were killed and cremated as unidentified”, he said. The documentary claimed the extra-judicial killings were done by the “Punjab Police, paramilitary and the armed forces”.
The 70-minute documentary follows the story of victims of alleged disappearances and extrajudicial killings, whose bodies were secretly cremated in a decade of armed conflict. The victims’ ongoing fight for justice highlights the work of a murdered human rights activist, Jaswant Singh Khalra, and a 10-year investigation that has uncovered new evidence of thousands of previously unknown secret cremations from which victims have been identified.
The documentary highlights the determination and resilience of the victims in their two-decade-long struggle before the courts for the truth, justice and accountability.
During the 1980s and 1990s, as the Khalistani movement for a separate homeland for Sikhs gained traction, an unprecedented rise in insurgency and violence was witnessed. In response, the state carried out several counterinsurgency operations, leading to massive rights violations. The true extent of this violence is slowly surfacing in the public domain, claims the group ‘Punjab Disappeared’ which has worked on the documentary.
Presents new evidence
The documentary looks at extra-judicial killings and mass cremations in the state during the 1980s and 1990s. It presents new evidence of previously unknown killings, cremations and disappearances.
Read the original article on The Tribune website here.