The latest news and updates from Ensaaf.

Published In The Wire: Letter Supporting Indian Farmers & Condemning Government Abuses

February 15, 2021 in Blog, Community, Legal Advocacy, Press

We’re writing to share a letter we co-authored with Arjun Sethi. We’re very proud of this intervention.

This is the first open, public letter from a coalition to President Biden about the farmers’ protest. It also fills a gap among the statements that have been circulating, as it highlights the connection between the anti-farmer bill, recent authoritarian laws passed by Modi, and the culture of impunity that Sikhs know all too well.

The decision to limit the letter to South Asian civil and human rights lawyers was intentional. We want this to be a call-to-action to many sectors across society, including philanthropists, journalists, academics, environmentalists, and public intellectuals, urging them to speak up and challenge India’s attack on human rights and democratic norms.

The letter is being directed to senior U.S. officials and lawmakers as well, and will allow for further engagement across government.

We’re very proud that The Wire published it. They’re one of the most prominent, independent media outlets in India, and the founder is currently facing sedition charges for covering the protest.

Please read and share.

Thirty-Five Years: Commemorating the Victims of Saka Nakodar

February 4, 2021 in Blog, Legal Advocacy, Press, Reports

35 years ago on February 4, 1986, India’s security forces shot and unlawfully killed four Sikh men participating in a peaceful religious procession and protest in Nakodar, Punjab.

For 35 years, the families have tirelessly fought for truth and justice to bring the perpetrators to account. Ensaaf stands in solidarity with the survivors and is inspired by their courage and perseverance.

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10 Reasons to Support Ensaaf

December 20, 2019 in Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press, Reports

Ensaaf works to address impunity for crimes against humanity in Punjab, with strategies and methods that also impact other regions suffering from gross human rights violations. We already provide technical assistance to human rights defenders working in India and beyond. We provide litigation support to cases in India that will set precedent for the entire country. And we share our data and resources publicly, so any community can learn from our experiences. Our work is innovative, timely, and makes an impact in Punjab and beyond.

    Reason 10: We do 10x the work of other organizations with similar resources.
    Reason 9: We called out Sumedh Saini for atrocities. Next year, we’ll focus on Izhar Alam.
    Reason 8: Amar Kaur’s testimony and our Oral History Video Archive project.
    Reason 7: We recently documented the case of 18-year old Kulwant Singh. Every case matters.
    Reason 6: We are creating a permanent and thorough human rights archive.
    Reason 5: We impacted key legal cases.
    Reason 4: Our work is essential for survivors to be heard.
    Reason 3: We have a proven track record and great partners.
    Reason 2: We take charge of our own narrative.
    Reason 1: We must protect the human rights of the world.

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Ensaaf Launches Ground-Breaking Effort to Name Chief Perpetrators

August 30, 2019 in Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press

On August 30, 2019, the International Day of the Disappeared, Ensaaf released its first in-depth perpetrator dossier of former Punjab Police Chief Sumedh Singh Saini. Our dossier includes a visualization identifying his victims, command history, awards, and known promotions. The dossier also includes news articles detailing a key legal case and disciplinary hearings, among other materials.

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Map the Killings & Disappearances; Study 5100+ Victim Profiles

August 29, 2018 in Press

On the International Day of the Disappeared, Ensaaf invites you to view the first-of its-kind interactive data visualization site, mapping victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Punjab, India.

The interactive site compiles over 5,000 cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions perpetrated by India’s security forces, based on data collected over the past decade through survivor interviews. These cases can be viewed geospatially to observe trends across time and space, as well as through a gallery and individual victim profiles.

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A Song to Remember

May 31, 2015

On the 31st anniversary of the Indian Army assault on the Harmandir Sahib complex, Ensaaf releases A Song to Remember. Through A Song to Remember, Manbir Singh Mand and Jatinderpal Singh pay tribute to their three uncles, killed by Indian security forces during the Decade of Disappearances in Punjab (1984-1995).

The Hill Publishes Ensaaf Article

January 26, 2015

(Pleasanton, CA)

Dear Human Rights Supporter,

As President Obama visits India, The Hill has published an article by Ensaaf co-founder and co-director Sukhman Dhami calling on the U.S. to engage India on its poor human rights record. India has done little to redress widespread and systematic violations, especially in resource rich states and regions populated with religious and ethnic minorities. The U.S. can no longer ignore these violations and must encourage India to end impunity for gross human rights violations.

The Hill is a premiere U.S. political website read by the White House and more lawmakers than any other site, informing policy, politics, and elections.

To ensure that more people read this article, please:

Share the article via Facebook and e-mail,
Share the article on Twitter, and
Comment on the article.

Help spread the message that India's human rights violations will not be ignored. Let's make this the most shared article on The Hill.

Thank you!

New Movie: Seeking Ensaaf on Human Rights Day

December 10, 2014

Today, on Human Rights Day, we share this documentary to show you how your support helps us document abuses on the ground. Seeking Ensaaf was filmed by Andrew Heskett, Ryan Westra, and David Thompson, recipients of the Sikh Scholarship Program at Chapman University, in August 2013. It follows Ensaaf field workers as they document a case of extrajudicial killing in Punjab.

Ensaaf, The Sikh Coalition, and Human Rights Watch Urge President Obama To Support Justice for 1984 Massacres

November 3, 2014

Ensaaf, in partnership with The Sikh Coalition and Human Rights Watch, sent a letter today to President Barack Obama, urging him to support justice for the 1984 anti-Sikh massacres, which claimed the lives of thousands of Sikhs throughout India 30 years ago.

Click the link to read the letter.

Watch Survivor Interviews, Days after November 1984

October 31, 2014

Thirty years have passed since the pogroms of Sikhs in India. During the first week of November 1984, police, politicians, and government leaders organized and implemented pogroms against Sikhs throughout the country. These massacres occurred ostensibly in response to the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. The news footage released today by Ensaaf, and recorded by the Movement Against State Repression, takes us to the refugee camps where survivors display raw wounds, search for missing loved ones, and share accounts of the killings.

Ensaaf Film Wins Award: Amnesty International Best Human Rights Short

September 19, 2014

Ensaaf’s film The Last Killing won the Amnesty International Best Human Rights Short award at the Isle of Wight Film Festival 2014. The Last Killing will also be screening at the UNSPOKEN Human Rights Film Festival in Utica, NY from October 2 to 4, 2014, creating further awareness about the Decade of Disappearances in Punjab, India.

A Labor of Love: In Memory of Kuljit Singh Dhatt

July 23, 2014

On the 25th anniversary of Kuljit Singh Dhatt’s custodial killing by the Punjab Police, Ensaaf presents A Labor of Love: Contesting Impunity, a multimedia tribute to the strength and resilience of one family and how they fought impunity for 25 years. This tribute includes a video based on eyewitness and family interviews, report, interactive timeline, and photo essay.

Ensaaf Featured on BBC

June 4, 2014

The BBC has highlighted Ensaaf’s work in a new article entitled “How Punjab’s missing thousands are being forgotten.” In this news story, Jastinder Khera reports from Amritsar on the case of Satwant Singh Manak, a family’s long wait for justice, and the Punjab government’s lack of action to end human rights abuses.

A Witness Among the Bodies: Surviving Bluestar

May 30, 2014

On the 30th Anniversary, Ensaaf presents an eyewitness account of the Indian Army assault on the Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar, Punjab, from June 1 to June 6, 1984. This exclusive interview reveals how the Indian Army intentionally killed thousands of civilians and used excessive force during this assault.

Ensaaf Presents The Last Killing

May 23, 2014

Ensaaf is proud to present The Last Killing, an original documentary that chronicles police whistleblower Satwant Singh Manak’s fight for justice for the survivors of ten victims of unlawful killings. Today, May 23, marks 21 years since the Punjab Police filed false cases against Manak to punish him for standing up for human rights. On April 2, Ensaaf helped Manak file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

“The Last Killing”: A New Short Film by Ensaaf

October 24, 2013

Ensaaf is proud to announce the upcoming release of a new short film, The Last Killing, about a former policeman’s commitment to fight for justice. Satwant Singh Manak joined the Punjab Police with dreams of making his community safer. But in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Punjab Police terrorized its own citizens in the name of fighting an insurgency, committing systematic and wide scale torture, disappearances, and unlawful killings. Manak silently witnessed the torture and executions of 15 unarmed individuals at the hands of his fellow police officers. The last killing he witnessed was of Kulwant Singh, a teenager studying in 10th grade. This injustice and brutality awakened Manak. He quit his job and filed a case against his fellow police officers. That case covers ten of the victims.
His courage came at a great cost. The police tortured Manak, fatally tortured his father, and threatened his family, but Manak has continued the fight for justice for over 20 years.

Watch Another Punjab Policeman Speak Out about Human Rights Abuses

July 12, 2013

Last week, Punjab Police Sub-Inspector Surjit Singh publicly stated that former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Paramjit Singh Gill of Amritsar district ordered him to kill 83 men in faked encounters during the 1990s.

Surjit Singh's story is not a singular one. In this video, former Punjab Police officer Lakhwinder Singh describes his experiences in the police force, where he witnessed his colleagues performing torture. He himself narrowly escaped a faked encounter. Lakhwinder Singh describes, however, how the police did kill his father in a faked encounter.

India: Stop the Arbitrary Execution of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar

April 16, 2013

On April 15 and 16, 2013, a coalition of U.S.-based organizations wrote to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, urging them to call on the Government of India to halt the imminent execution of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar. The letters were signed by Ensaaf, Jakara Movement, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikh Coalition, Sikh Research Institute, United Sikhs, and Voices For Freedom.

Christian Science Monitor Publishes Ensaaf Op-Ed

March 29, 2013

On the 25th anniversary of India’s suspension of the right to life in Punjab, the Christian Science Monitor has published an op-ed article by Ensaaf Co-Founder and Co-Director Sukhman Dhami.

Joint Submission to UN Challenges India

January 11, 2012

In November 2011, Ensaaf partnered with international human rights organization REDRESS, to make a joint submission to the Universal Periodic Review on mass cremations, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings carried out in Punjab, India during the 1980s and 1990s. The Ensaaf/REDRESS joint submission discusses the failure of the Government of India to hold the individuals responsible for these violations to account and to provide victims with effective remedies and full reparation. It focuses on the mass cremations case.

Ensaaf Commemorates 25th Anniversary of 1984 Pogroms with BART Ad Campaign & Mercury News Op-Ed

November 2, 2009

On November 2, Ensaaf launched an ad campaign in the San Francisco Bay Area’s metro system, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the November 1984 pogroms of Sikhs in India. On the same day, the Mercury News also published Ensaaf’s op-ed discussing the anniversary of the pogroms and its continuing impact on India and even the Bay Area.

TIME Magazine Interviews Ensaaf: Help Move Nov. 1984 Awareness to the Homepage

October 29, 2009

Time Magazine, in an article released today, quoted Ensaaf Co-Director Jaskaran Kaur on the total lack of justice for survivors of the November 1984 pogroms of Sikhs in India.

New Statistical Analysis Points To Widespread Human Rights Violations by Indian Government Authorities in Punjab

January 26, 2009

Ensaaf and the Benetech Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) released a report today presenting verifiable quantitative findings on mass disappearances and extrajudicial executions in the Indian state of Punjab, contradicting the Indian government's portrayal of the Punjab counterinsurgency as a successful and “humane” campaign.

India: Time to Deliver Justice for Atrocities in Punjab

October 18, 2007

The Indian government must take concrete steps to hold accountable members of its security forces who killed, “disappeared,” and tortured thousands of Sikhs during its counterinsurgency campaign in Punjab, Human Rights Watch and Ensaaf said in a new report released today.