Gurdev Singh speaks of persecution and the extrajudicial execution of his brother

August 19, 2023 in Blog, Community, Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press, Publications, Reports

Watch Ensaaf’s latest video release:

Gurdev Singh speaks about his family’s persecution, and about the extrajudicial execution of his brother. “They beat my father brutally. They beat him like one would beat corn. With rods. They beat him unconscious,” Gurdev Singh told Ensaaf.

Watch the video here: https://interviews.ensaaf.org/video/24

Ensaaf’s data visualization site on Crimes Against Humanity in Punjab allows users to view 5,300 profiles in detail. Victim profiles in both the gallery view and the map can be filtered according to several variables to identify subsets of victims and explore patterns of gross human rights violations.

Many victim testimonials can be found in our Interviews portal; more videos are forthcoming regularly.

Read more about the project and browse the extensive information available on crimes against humanity in Punjab.

The Ensaaf Team

Major New Data Release: Identities of the Killing Officials

June 2, 2023 in Blog, Community, Documentation, Legal Advocacy, Press, Publications, Reports

Thirty-nine years ago, the 1984 Indian Army attack on the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar, Punjab marked the beginning of a decades long reign of terror in which India’s security forces disappeared and unlawfully killed thousands. Today, Ensaaf releases data on hundreds of police officials named by survivors as directly involved in unlawfully killing 2,003 individuals.

The 5300+ profiles on Ensaaf’s data visualization site had previously identified officials involved in the abduction/disappearance of victims. Today, Ensaaf releases data for 2,003 profiles where survivors identified the officials directly involved in the killing of victims. See the profiles of 14-year old Puran Singh, 87-year old Dewarki Kaur, and 35-year old Surinder Kaur, and many more, to learn who the family holds responsible for the killing of their loved one.

The 5300+ profiles on Ensaaf’s data visualization site had previously identified officials involved in the abduction/disappearance of victims. Today, Ensaaf releases data for 2,003 profiles where survivors identified the officials directly involved in the killing of victims. See the profiles of 14-year old Puran Singh, 87-year old Dewarki Kaur, and 35-year old Surinder Kaur, and many more, to learn who the family holds responsible for the killing of their loved one.

Ensaaf has selected 40 senior police officials to highlight their direct involvement in the abduction/disappearance and/or unlawful killing of victims.

Now that Ensaaf has released this data, Ensaaf will build detailed dossiers attributing responsibility to senior police officials for both their direct and command involvement. Ensaaf has already released one detailed report on Sumedh Saini, and plans to release several more this year.

In these 2,003 cases where families named killing officials, Ensaaf drew from survivor testimony, and then cross-referenced thousands of articles published in the daily Punjabi Ajit, the Indian Police Service annual posting lists, as well as the websites of individual police districts, to confirm postings of senior police officials.

This latest data release continues Ensaaf’s goals to promote survivors’ right to truth, to counter state denial, and to promote accountability by preserving evidence and archival information.

Please donate today and help us continue this work to document crimes against humanity in Punjab.

Ensaaf’s data visualization site on Crimes Against Humanity in Punjab allows users to view 5,300 profiles in detail. Victim profiles in both the gallery view and the map can be filtered according to several variables to identify subsets of victims and explore patterns of gross human rights violations. Read more about the project and browse the extensive information available on crimes against humanity in Punjab.

The Ensaaf Team

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


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

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!

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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