India: Human rights violations in Punjab: use and abuse of the law
Since the start of the violent anti-government campaign by Sikh opposition groups in the Punjab in 1983, thousands of people have been arrested by police and security forces. Prisoners have been detained, often for long periods, without trial under provisions of special legislation. Reports of torture during interrogation are common including the torture or rape of girls, women and elderly people. Scores of people have apparently "disappeared". The parents, brothers and sisters of suspected terrorists are said frequently to have been detained and tortured in order to extract information about relatives' activities. Hundreds of alleged members or sympathizers of Sikh groups have allegedly been killed by police in what the police say are armed "encounters" .