to Ashes: The Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab
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More than a hundred people attended the release event in New Delhi today. The first volume of the Final Report was released by Mr. Patwant Singh. Many human rights activists, community organizers, media correspondents and people from other spheres were present, including the former Law minister of India, Mr. Shanti Bhushan.
The Final Report builds upon the work of the late Mr. Jaswant Singh Khalra, a lawyer and human rights activist who was himself abducted and "disappeared" by Punjab Police in September 1995 for his pursuit of justice and human rights. Mr. Khalra had discovered, from the records of three cremation grounds in Amritsar district, cases of mass illegal cremations by police over many years. As Peter Rosenblum of the Harvard Law School notes in his preface to this volume, the careful analysis by the authors allows the reader to "pierce through the thick veils of ideology, intrigue and 'state security' that obscure our understanding of the campaign to pacify Punjab."
A companion website, www.punjabjustice.org, has also been released. The website contains an electronic version of the report, related essays and articles, and video excerpts from interviews with families of victims, doctors, police officials and human rights activists.
The CCDP has been investigating and documenting the systematic and large-scale abuse of basic human rights by police in Punjab since its formation in November 1997.
The report will be sold throughout the U.S. and Canada during the summer. It will be released in several cities across North America. The first U.S. release will be on June 4 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. For additional information, please contact email@example.com
The Punjab report
"Reduced To Ashes: The Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab"
by Ram Narayan Kumar with Amrik Singh, Ashok Agrwaal and Jaskaran Kaur,
published by South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR)
We have attached certain portions from the report that includes the introduction (Executive Summary), End Note and Chronology. To quote from the preface by Peter Rosenblum (Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School):
"This report on disappearances in Punjab is the first published piece in a massive and on-going undertaking by a small group of very committed scholars and activists. For more than two years, I have followed their work. At first, I wondered why they were returning to the seemingly settled events of the last decade when new and pressing conflicts threatened individual liberties and personal security in India and beyond."
"My initial skepticism
was appeased by the careful methodology of the researchers. .............I
also acquired a better understanding of the many motivations that animated
them: they were not taking sides in a conflict; they did not expect to
change history or right a history of wrongs with a single report. Rather,
they sought to empower the families of disappeared to reclaim their dignity,
to press the institutions of the state to perform their
"When viewed in the light of police, court and crematoria records, the raw material of this report - the hundreds of testimonies - raise serious questions about the state's willingness to honestly address the problem of balancing justice and security."
"If even some of the testimonies are true, then the official story must change: it is impossible to dismiss those who died as simply "terrorists." If the testimonies are substantially true, then the work of the NHRC and the courts has barely begun because there are glaring violations of rights to be addressed and responsibility to be apportioned."
"A good report is a call to action. They will have succeeded if we, the readers, answer this call."
The report although
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Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in a copy of the report.