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India: "disappearance": Jaswinder Kaur (f), aged 17, Darshan Singh, her father

, رقم الوثيقة: ASA 20/009/1995

Jaswinder Kaur and her father, Darshan Singh, have not been seen since they were taken on separate occasions from their home in Punjab by members of the Ropar branch of the Criminal Investigation Agency. On 26 February 1995, CIA officials, looking for Jaswinder Kaur's husband, raided the family home and took her away. They reportedly beat her. They returned on 6 march and took Darshan Singh. Police subsequently confiscated the house, making Jaswinder Kaur's mother and two children homeless. Two habeas corpus petitions have been filed. There are grave fears for their safety.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 20/09/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 80/95 "Disappearance" 28 March 1995
INDIA Jaswinder Kaur, aged 17, female
Darshan Singh, her father
Jaswinder Kaur and her father, Darshan Singh, have not been seen since they
were taken on separate dates from their home in Mohalla Sadavarat, Ropar, Punjab,
by members of the Ropar branch of the Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA).
There are serious concerns for their safety.
On 26 February 1995, CIA officials, who were reportedly looking for Jaswinder
Kaur's husband, Surinder Singh, raided the family's home and took Jaswinder
Kaur away. They did not have an arrest warrant, and reportedly beat the
17-year-old despite the efforts of neighbours to stop them. On 6 March, CIA
officials returned to the family home and took Darshan Singh away with them.
Police subsequently confiscated the house, making Jaswinder Kaur's mother
and children homeless.
Two habeas corpus petitions have been filed at the Punjab and Haryana High
Court. The first concerned the confiscation of the house. As a result of
a second petition filed on 23 March, regarding the "disappearance" of Jaswinder
Kaur and Darshan Singh, a warrant officer visited Ropar police station but
was unable to establish the whereabouts of the girl and her father. The police
have reportedly filed an affidavit denying the arrest of Jaswinder Kaur and
Darshan Singh. The next hearing in the case is set for 6 April.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty International regularly receives reports that alleged members or
sympathizers of armed opposition groups, or their relatives, in Punjab have
"disappeared" or been killed in police custody, often after torture. Officials
later wrongly attribute their deaths or "disappearances" to "encounters"
between militants and the police, to "escapes" during such an "encounters"
or to other improbable causes.
Even though legal safeguards against unacknowledged detention exist in India's
ordinary criminal law and procedural code, they are often simply not adhered
to and prisoners are held in unacknowledged detention for weeks and sometimes
months.
In cases where allegations such as this are brought before the courts in Punjab,
legal proceedings are extremely slow and often police fail to comply with the
orders of the court. The case of Harjit Singh is representative of this inaction
by the authorities in Punjab -- although an investigation into his
"disappearance" was ordered by the High Court in December 1992 to be completed
within three months, the hearing is still in progress (see UA 44/94, ASA
20/04/94, 11 February 1994).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams, faxes and airmail letters either
in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Jaswinder Kaur and Darshan Singh who
have not been seen since they were taken away by CIA officials from Ropar on
26 February 1995 and 6 March respectively;
- urging the government to ensure that officials of the CIA comply with any
orders of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana which may result from the habeas
2
corpus petition filed on 23 March;
- urging the government to immediately order an independent and impartial
inquiry to establish their whereabouts;
- seeking assurances that if they are in police custody they be allowed immediate
access to lawyers and relatives and be promptly brought before a magistrate;
- seeking assurances that they are not being ill-treated and that they be
immediately released if they are not to be charged with a recognizably criminal
offence;
- seeking assurances that their relatives will be given adequate protection
from harassment.
APPEALS TO:
Mr Beant Singh
Chief Minister of Punjab
Office of the Chief Minister
Chandigarh
Punjab, India
Telegrams: Chief Minister of Punjab, Chandigarh, Punjab, India
Faxes: +91 172 540 647 (if voice, ask for fax to be switched on)
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister
K.P.S. Gill
Director General of Police
Police Headquarters
Chandigarh
Punjab, India
Telegrams: Director General Police, Chandigarh, Punjab, India
Faxes: +91 172 540 901 (if voice, ask for fax)
Salutation: Dear Director General of Police
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Mr S.B. Chavan
Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
North Block
New Delhi 110 001
India
and to diplomatic representatives of India accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 May 1995.

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