Our Voices Matter

When Tarlok Singh and Balbir Kaur celebrated the birth of their son Surjit Singh, they could never have imagined he would live such a short life. Yet, in the midst of the violence that plagued Punjab during the “Decade of Disappearances,” Punjab Police killed Surjit Singh, like thousands of others, in a fake encounter. He was only 17.

In 2010, Ensaaf spoke to hundreds of other survivors in Punjab just like Surjit Singh’s family. Many of them had never before shared their experiences with civil society. Yet they welcomed us into their homes so that the lives and deaths of their loved ones could be documented and acknowledged.

Here, we’ve compiled photographs of several victims, shared by survivors, into a photo essay titled "Our Voices Matter".

  • In 1992, the police abducted Gurmeet Kaur, a mother of two, from her home and killed her two weeks later. Newspapers, however, reported that she was killed in an “encounter” with police. Her family still does not know what the police did with her body. Gurmeet Kaur’s family would like a memorial established to honor all those killed or disappeared by the Punjab Police.

More Photo Essays:

Protecting the Killers

Photo Essays

Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances

Photo Essays

Operation Blue Star: The Launch of a Decade of Systematic Abuse and Impunity

Photo Essays