Where Women Are Paraded Naked
THE RAPE OF PUNJAB:
Indian State's Indignities on Sikh Women and Children
 
THE BRAHMPURA INCIDENT
INDIA'S BRUTAL CAMPAIGN IN PUNJAB DURING 1984-94
THE OPERATIONAL BLACK THUNDER
 
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History
 
IHRO's History
HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN INDIA
International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) is a non-party human rights movement. Since its inception in 1985, the IHRO has been endeavouring to investigate and publicise the violation of human rights in Punjab, Kashmir and elsewhere in India at the hands of the Indian law enforcing agencies, state-sponsored vigilantes and individual groups. Because of its working in this part of the country, the IHRO opposes tooth and nails the oppression of the Sikh and Muslim minorities in Punjab and Kashmir. It also suggests way on how to resolve the Punjab conflict.

The IHRO does not view the Punjab turmoil merely in terms of "terrorists' violence" as cynically being done by the Indian ruling circles and presented to the world by their well-oiled propaganda machines. We see a deeper meaning in the unending unrest.  Viewed in its historical, sociological and political context, the Punjab problem certainly emerges as an important chapter in the struggle for human dignity, freedom and equality, a part and parcel of the currently evident global phenomenon. Sikhs are not the only segment of the Indian population that is struggling for their rights.  The others in the line are Kashmiris, Assamese, Oriyas and Tamils. All are seeking to emancipate from the neo-colonial clutches of Delhi.  The deployments of tens of thousands of armed security forces in Punjab, Kashmir and Assam for years together make these regions occupied territories.

Thousands of Sikhs and non-Sikhs have been killed during the past few years. A large number of Sikh activists have been killed at the hands of the security forces. The paramilitary and the police forces have been responsible for grave human rights abuses.  The Indian army deployed in Punjab often engages itself in  "encounters” with the Sikhs. No one from the military or paramilitary forces responsible for extra-judicial actions has so far been punished.

Thousands' others were tortured disabled and detained without trial for years together. Extortion of money for the release of persons illegally detained at unofficial police posts was frequent. The IHRO inquired into and reported about some of these abuses of law. It was unthinkable to investigate all the complaints received by it. A few other human right groups and journalists also went into some of the instances.  No known international human rights organisation like Amnesty International was permitted to enter Punjab to find out the human rights situation for about a decade. We in IHRO with its small voice did try to defend and promote the civil liberties, human and basic rights of the people and the State of Punjab.  The purpose was to keep high the public morale and to highlight the need for restoring civil liberties and democratic rights brutally crushed by Delhi in and after 1984.

IHRO regularly receives information of abductions and illegal detentions of the Sikhs at the hands of the state law enforcing agencies on the mere suspicion of being members or sympathisers of the Sikh militant groups advocating for Khalistan. In some cased the detainees are eventually found to have died in custody, in others they are found to have been deliberately killed in custody. The officials wrongly report that they died in armed "encounters" with the police. Violent activity at the hands of military, paramilitary and police forces remains unchecked. Rather, it has further been stepped up on the pretext of holding elections in Punjab. Security forces' excesses are on the increase.

The IHRO documented a series of reports parallel to the international norms and standards exposing false encounters' killings, rape of women and torture cases besides general harassment and humiliation of the civilians by the security forces. Most of the IHRO reports have been reprinted and distributed the world over by its branches abroad. These branches besides disseminating the literature have created lobby in the international community especially among parliamentarians in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Because of these reports and the lobby, the IHRO is a worldwide movement known in human rights field particularly in the western countries.

To mobilise the public opinion and the people of Punjab, the IHRO formed an Anti-Repression Co-ordination Committee (ARCC) to collectively oppose state terrorism in July 1986. The ARCC comprised a dozen of non-party Punjab organisations.  The ARCC organised an "All India Anti-Repression Convention" in defence of human rights and against state repression on August 3, 1986 at Gandhi Smark Bhawan, Chandigarh that was attended by representatives of various human rights groups working in India.

Second, an 'anti-repression' mass rally presided over by Mr. Nag Bhushan Patnaik, Chairperson, Indian Peoples Front, was organised at Bathinda on September 7, 1986. The third rally was organised at Jalandhar on October 5, 1986 that was chaired by Dr. Aurobindo Ghose; Convenor of the Delhi based Peoples’ Rights Organisation   (PRO).  State repression,  "black laws,” fake encounters, suppression of the Press and inaction of the Centre to punish persons responsible for the November 1984 Sikh carnage were condemned. The rallies demanded the release of Jodhpur detainees and political prisoners, general amnesty and rehabilitation of army deserters, scrapping of "Black laws” and prosecution of the persons responsible for killing of Sikh youths in faked encounters. The measures to check fake encounters in Punjab, repression on Dalits as in case of Bihar and the need for co-ordination with national and international human rights groups were also discussed at these meets.
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