EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 20/56/92
27 November 1992
Further information on UA 330/92 (ASA 20/54/92, 22 October 1992) - Illegal
Detention/Fear of Torture/Fear of Extrajudicial Execution/Harassment
Amnesty International has received further information about the
"disappearance" of Harjit Singh, which strengthens the evidence indicating
that he was alive and in custody of the police and Central Reserve Police Force
(CRPF) at least as of 17 October 1992. He was last seen on that date in the
Mal Mandi interrogation centre, Amritsar, but the police and CRPF authorities
have denied having him in custody. Amnesty International fears for his safety.
According to the new information received, Harjit Singh, aged about 22 years
and an employee in the Punjab State Electricity Board, was taken away at about
11am on 29 April 1992 by Deputy Superintendent of Police Darshan Singh Mann
and other policemen from the Thatia bus-stand near Sathiala college.
Since then, his family have made many attempts to locate Harjit Singh and have
appealed to the police officials for his release, so far without success.
Police claim that Harjit Singh was arrested on 12 May and that he is no longer
in their custody. They maintain that he was killed on the day of his arrest
by a group of armed men attacking the police party who had taken him and another
man, Lakhwinder Singh, to recover hidden arms. They said that a post mortem
had been conducted, but the body is not known to have been handed over to the
family. His father has claimed he saw his son in custody of the police in
a police van on several occasions: on 26 May at Kapurthala and on 9 August
near Melita Chowk police station.
On 15 October 1992 a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court found there
was prima facie evidence that Harjit Singh was in police custody and instructed
a warrant officer of the court to search for him. On receiving information
that Harjit Singh might be held at the building of the Central Investigation
Agency (CIA) staff in Mal Mandi, Harjit Singh's father and the warrant officer
went there at 9am on 17 October to look for him but were told to wait outside
the gate. The father identified his son in a first floor window from where
the latter was giving signals. He was apparently handcuffed and naked. Two
other villagers accompanying the warrant officer swore an affidavit that they
recognized Harjit Singh there.
The police and the CRPF initially refused permission to the court's warrant
officer and his father to enter the building. When they were permitted to
do so half an hour later, they found the room where Harjit Singh had been seen
empty with only handcuffs hanging from window bars. The Superintendent of