Documenting Female Victims: “She was severely beaten.”

June 16, 2022 in Blog, Community, Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press

In 1993, after Punjab Police abducted Gurmeet Kaur from her home in Kalia, a witness saw her in illegal detention and reported, “She was…severely beaten.” The Punjab Police killed her and orphaned her two children.

Today, we share her full profile on our data visualization site, the first release of the 121 female victims of disappearances and unlawful killings in Punjab documented by Ensaaf. The new information added to her profile includes why Indian security forces targeted her–her husband was a militant, her experiences of illegal detention, a detailed case summary, and the officials responsible for unlawfully killing her, among other information. Her family did not pursue any legal remedies, and her children eventually dropped out of school.

Please double your donation today to support the Documenting Female Victims project. Your support will help us expand the records of 121 female victims of enforced disappearances and unlawful killings from 1984 to 1995 in Punjab, India. 

Thank you!

The Ensaaf Team


Documenting Female Victims: Double Your Donation

June 6, 2022 in Blog, Community, Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press

Today, as we remember the 38th anniversary of the massacre at the Harmandir Sahib complex in June 1984, we announce Ensaaf’s project, Documenting Female Victims. We ask for your donation to help create and preserve the record of 121 female victims of enforced disappearances and unlawful killings from 1984 to 1995 in Punjab, India. Currently, generous individuals have pledged to match up to $15,000 in donations.

I also want to tell you that my sister-in-law, Raj Kaur, was six months pregnant at the time. That [child] was also killed by the police, or died after being born. Afterwards, when I became acquainted with the police employees, they told [me] that, “Gurcharan Singh, Raj Kaur, [and] Kuldev Kaur died while being tortured at Amloh police station.’ [O] learned that the police beat Surinder Kaur and then shot her on the same day, and threw the body in the Bakhra River.

Sohanjit Kaur, speaking about Raj Kaur and Surinder Kaur

Ensaaf visited over 12,000 villages in Punjab, documenting disappearances and unlawful killings perpetrated by Indian security forces, primarily from 1984 to 1995. Ensaaf released the first data visualization site to map and provide detailed information on crimes against humanity in Punjab, including over 5300 individual profiles of victims, covering over 40 points of information. 

What happened to female victims of crimes against humanity?

As Ensaaf has continued to process its data and release information on perpetrators and develop a companion video testimonial site, we asked ourselves about the unique experiences of the female victims. Did security forces target them for different reasons? Did they suffer different patterns of abuse? Who held the information on what the female victims experienced? Documenting Female Victims will provide the resources Ensaaf needs to answer these questions. 

Please support the match campaign organized with the Dasvandh Network and learn more about what the project involves, including 121 complete profiles on the female victims with family reflections and case summaries, data visualizations, and an in-depth report.

Thank you for supporting our mission to end impunity and achieve justice for crimes against humanity in Punjab!

Gratefully,
The Ensaaf Team


Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive beta release

November 30, 2021 in Blog, Community, Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press

With much excitement, we invite you to explore the beta release of our new Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive, with an initial selection of interviews and clips, exploring key human rights themes and survivor perspectives.

This human rights video archive will grow to be the first and largest repository of video testimonials from surviving families of the “Decade of Disappearances.” Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity. With your generous support, this archive will be accessed at no charge worldwide.

Watch a tutorial video

Click this image to watch a tutorial video on how to use the beta site

By honoring these victim and survivor stories, we hope to continue to educate people around the world about crimes against humanity in Punjab. As you interact with the archive, you can search by theme to learn more about the victims, their stories, and reflections. As this is the beta version of our video archive site, we welcome feedback to info@ensaaf.org as we continue to build out the site.

Ensaaf is grateful to the Khalsa Credit Union for sponsoring the Testimonies of Truth video archive. To date, about 150 survivor video interviews have been filmed since 2012, but there is still work to do to amplify their voices to the world.


Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity.

Help bring their voices to the entire world!

Double Your Donation: They Have Not Disappeared

August 30, 2021 in Blog, Community, Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press, UN

Today, August 30, marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. On this day, we thank you for helping us ensure the names and stories of the victims live on.

Sukhminder Kaur holds onto the passport of her son, Sarabjit Singh, disappeared January 26, 1989, from his home when he was 17 years-old. Police barged into their home during wedding celebrations. She told Ensaaf, “No one has told me if my son is alive or not. I’m holding on to my own hopes, if someone tries to tell me that he is not, I feel angry. If you see something with your own eyes only then can you find peace. Like I told you before, he was precious.”

Victim passport in hand

More than 30 years have passed, and she has not received truth or justice for the disappearance of her son. As the United Nation states, the families of victims “alternate between hope and despair, wondering and waiting, sometimes for years, for news that may never come.”

Ensaaf  stands in solidarity with victims of disappearances and unlawful killings in Punjab and throughout the world. Thank you for your financial support these past two weeks, helping us reach our goal of $30,000. Your contribution will help us create an undeniable and permanent record of India’s atrocity crimes.


Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity.

Help bring their voices to the entire world!

Double Your Donation: Steady and Unwavering

August 27, 2021 in Blog, Community, Legal Advocacy, Press

We stand with every victim and survivor, dedicated to seeking and speaking the truth. There can be no bystanders in state abuse.

Over 15 years ago, Ensaaf embarked on a journey to identify and capture every testimony of disappearance and unlawful killing in Punjab from the Decade of Disappearances. The initiative aimed to counter state denials, expose the widespread and systematic extent of the abuses, erode the moral authority of perpetrators, and bring to light the application of repressive laws in India.

That work feeds our data visualization site Mapping Crimes Against Humanity in Punjab. We still have much more information to prepare and share, from information on officials who perpetrated the killings, to detailed summaries of each case. Our forthcoming oral history video archive, Testimonies of Truth, is the latest development in this unprecedented undertaking.

Throughout the past decade, our work has been steady and unwavering as the world around us suffered other wars, polarizing presidents, and a global pandemic, among other crises.

We could not have done this without you. We ask you to continue to support us, so that we can ensure each story is honored and shared.


Survey worker with paperwork in hands

Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity.

Help bring their voices to the entire world!

Double Your Donation: Listen to Hardeep Kaur’s Story

August 24, 2021 in Blog, Community, Legal Advocacy, Press

Hardeep Kaur’s daughter says, “I didn’t get my father’s love.”

We have an incredible opportunity to raise $30,000 by August 30, the International Day of the Disappeared. Every dollar you give will be matched, 100%.

Watch Hardeep Kaur share the impact of the Decade of Disappearances on her children. Indian security forces disappeared her husband Charat Singh. His daughter was born two months after they disappeared him: She says to her siblings, “Father picked you up, gave you love. I didn’t get my father’s love.”

Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will house hundreds of complete testimonies, as well as thematic clips. Clips will center on the following themes: About the victim, Disappearance, Extrajudicial execution, Justice & accountability, Persecution of family, Reflections, and Torture & prior persecution.

This human rights video archive will be the first and largest repository of video testimonials from surviving families of the “Decade of Disappearances.” Please support us today.



Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity.

Help bring their voices to the entire world!

Double Your Donation: Amplify the Testimonies of Truth

August 19, 2021 in Blog, Community, Legal Advocacy, Press

Thank you for your support in helping us build Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive of over 200 survivor interviews, thematic clips, and oral histories, exploring key human rights themes and survivor perspectives.

Over the next 12 days, we have an incredible opportunity to raise $30,000 by August 30, the International Day of the Disappeared.

Today, as an example of the survivor interviews that will fill the video archive, we release the testimony of Gurbachan Singh, 70 years old at the time of interview. Gurbachan Singh shares the torture, illegal detentions, and unlawful killing of his brother Khunda Singh, as well as the torture and persecution suffered by himself and his family.

They did not give him back to us. We have no keepsakes. We faced a lot of troubles, even on our bodies in countless ways.

My son and daughter-in-law also died because of this. My wife also died because of police beatings. 

-Gurbachan Singh

Help us amplify the voice of Gurbachan Singh and bring his testimony to the entire world!



Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity.

Help bring their voices to the entire world!

Double Your Donation: Support Testimonies of Truth

August 16, 2021 in Blog, Community, Legal Advocacy, Press

Today, Ensaaf needs your help to build Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive of over 200 survivor interviews, thematic clips, and oral histories, exploring key human rights themes and survivor perspectives.

This human rights video archive will be the first and largest repository of video testimonials from surviving families of the “Decade of Disappearances.”

Over the next 15 days, we have an incredible opportunity to raise $30,000 by August 30, the International Day of the Disappeared. Generous donors will match the first $15,000 raised, dollar for dollar.


Balwinder Singh

Who was Balwinder Singh?

I never forget him. I always think of him. On the day I began construction on this home, I thought, “I wish he was standing next to me today and I had his support.”

On any day, sad or happy, I always think of him, wishing he could celebrate with us. Our family was very poor. So much so that even for our education, my mother borrowed money from her family to pay our fees. Because he was born into poverty, he was determined to stand on his own two feet…So, he worked in electronics, delivered mail, and worked at the dairy in the morning. This is how he made ends meet for his family.

Manohar Singh

What were Manohar Singh’s last moments like?

He told me, “They cut my legs apart. [They] cut open my legs with a cutter, and put hot peppers in [the wounds]. They humiliated [me] a lot.” He was tortured a lot. He was beaten very badly. He was unable to sit up or even stand.

…I was put in one room and he was put in another room. For about 15 to 20 days, they kept us separated like this. His room was next to me and we could hear each other’s voices. We spoke with one another a little.

When I would ask him, he would say, “I have been beaten very badly and they are going to kill me….I am begging them to kill me, but not to kill you as you are a child.”

Talvinder Singh

Memories of a Father

In 1993, the police took [my father] from our home and killed him. After that, we had no one to help us. Our life has been very difficult. No one has listened to us. I was around 13 to 14 years old when the police abducted my father from our house.

By killing my father, he [policeman] didn’t finish any of my family members. But, he did ruin the families of the poor individuals in the village. The village could always rely on the fact that “Bhai” was around. Today, if people get together or there is an issue to discuss, people recall that “Bhai” used to be around. Even today, the world remembers him.


Testimonies of Truth: A Video Archive will serve as a permanent, powerful, interactive tool to educate the global community, complementing Ensaaf’s data site on Crimes Against Humanity.

Help bring their voices to the entire world!

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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