Our Successes

Ensaaf has made notable achievements in its work to end impunity and achieve justice for crimes against humanity in India, including conducting innovative documentation projects, releasing groundbreaking reports, advancing key cases through critical litigation support, and engaging international experts.

Five Officers Convicted

Ensaaf provided key litigation support for the convictions and life sentences of 5 police officers for Jaswant Singh Khalra's abduction and murder.

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Largest-Ever Documentation Effort in India

Ensaaf has interviewed thousands of survivors of disappearances and unlawful killings, reaching all of Punjab’s 12,000+ villages.

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International Experts Engaged

Ensaaf partnered with the Nobel Prize-winning organization Physicians for Human Rights on a torture and trauma study.

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Recognized as a Ground-breaking Organization

Ensaaf Co-Founders Jaskaran Kaur and Sukhman Dhami received the Echoing Green fellowship award in 2006.

 

 

Timeline

April 2004

Ensaaf begins work.

June 2004

Ensaaf releases a report analyzing 1000s of government papers concerning massacres of Sikhs: Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India.

May 2005 to June 2005

Ensaaf partners with Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights and Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture on in-depth torture and trauma study in Amritsar, Punjab.

July 2005

On the eve of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US, Ensaaf publishes an op-ed in the Boston Globe, “The Legacy of India’s Counter-terrorism.”

October 2005

Ensaaf releases a report examining recent abuses committed from May to June 2005 as part of a government crackdown on an alleged revival of terrorism in Punjab.

October 2005

Physicians for Human Rights and Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture intervene in the Punjab mass cremations case by submitting their expert report to the NHRC.

November 2005

A criminal court convicts 6 Punjab policemen for the illegal detention and murder of human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra. Ensaaf provided critical legal support.

May 2006

Ensaaf Co-Founders receive the Echoing Green Fellowship award, recognized as among the world’s most exceptional emerging leaders working to spark social change.

September 2006

Ensaaf works with attorney RS Bains to file a High Court case against KPS Gill, calling on the government to prosecute him for his role in Khalra’s murder.

March 2007

Ensaaf releases the second edition of Twenty Years of Impunity, examining developments since the Nanavati Commission.

October 2007

The High Court upholds the convictions of 5 police officers for the illegal detention and murder of Khalra, and enhances sentences to life imprisonment.

October 2007

Ensaaf and Human Rights Watch release a joint report analyzing impunity for Punjab abuses and providing a framework for redress.

November 2007

Ensaaf meets with the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances in Geneva following a joint submission with international human rights groups.

January 2009

Ensaaf and the Benetech Human Rights Data Analysis Group release a report presenting verifiable quantitative findings demonstrating the implausibility that lethal human rights violations in Punjab were random or minor aberrations.

January 2009

United Nations report incorporates allegations presented by Ensaaf on disappearances and mass cremations in Punjab, informing the Government of India that it has an ongoing duty to thoroughly and impartially investigate the disappearances.

July/August 2009

Ensaaf completes the largest disappearances and extrajudicial executions documentation effort in Punjab in nearly a decade, conducting approximately 1,000 interviews in 6 weeks.

September 2009

Following a successful Right to Information Act request, Ensaaf procures 30,000 legal records from the National Human Rights Commission concerning the Punjab mass cremations case.

November 2009

Ensaaf launches an ad campaign in San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system, which represents the first time ads on human rights abuses in India have been viewed by riders in any transit system in the U.S.

November 2009

TIME Magazine interviews Ensaaf for an expert opinion on the November 1984 pogroms, and thrice quotes Ensaaf in its published article, "India's Anti-Sikh Riots: Waiting for Justice." The article is #1 on Time.com's Most Emailed List for almost 2 days.

November 2009

San Jose Mercury News publishes Ensaaf's op-ed, highlighting the continuing impact of impunity for gross human rights violations in India, as well as its relevance to the U.S.

November 2011

The Supreme Court upholds the convictions of 5 police officers for the illegal detention and murder of Khalra. Ensaaf provided key litigation support to the case at various stages.

March 2013

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

October 2013

Ensaaf releases a new short film, The Last Killing, about a former policeman’s commitment to fight for justice for families of those who were unlawfully killed by his colleagues.

April 2014

Punjab Police whistleblower, Satwant Singh Manak, files an appeal to the Supreme Court of India in the case he is fighting on behalf of ten victim families whose loved ones were unlawfully killed by the Punjab Police. Supreme Court attorney Shadan Farasat, High Court attorney Rajvinder S. Bains, and Ensaaf drafted the special leave petition.

May 2014

Judge Poonam R. Joshi convicts three Punjab Police officers in the abduction and murder of Kuljit Singh Dhatt. Ensaaf provided litigation support in this case.

May 2014

On the 30th Anniversary of Operation Bluestar, Ensaaf releases a short film, A Witness Among The Bodies: Surviving Bluestar, an eyewitness account of the Indian Army attack on the Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar, Punjab, from June 1 to June 6, 1984.

June 2014

The Supreme Court of India grants police whistleblower Satwant Singh Manak and victim families leave to appeal the High Court judgment that had denied them a high level inquiry into the unlawful killings witnessed by Manak.

July 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.

September 2014

Sukhman Dhami, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Ensaaf, presents at the first-ever Congressional briefing on the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence in India, hosted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C.

September 2014

Ensaaf’s film, The Last Killing, wins the Amnesty International Best Human Rights Short award at the Isle of Wight Film Festival 2014.

January 2015

The Hill publishes 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.

August 2015

On the 20th anniversary of the police abduction of human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra, Ensaaf releases A Light of Justice: Commemorating Jaswant Singh Khalra. This 30-minute film features interviews with Khalra’s family, as well as archival footage of Khalra when he was investigating secret cremations and disappearances in Punjab.

September 2015

Ensaaf’s film, The Last Killing, wins the Best Documentary Short at the New Filmmakers Los Angeles “Best of 2014” awards on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

December 2015

On Human Rights Day, Khalra Mission Organisation, the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, and Ensaaf release a new web-based human rights tool to help empower victims of government abuse to report their experiences at ReportPunjabPolice.org.

August 2018

Ensaaf releases its first-of-a-kind interactive data visualization site, mapping and profiling 5100+ victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Punjab, India.