Jaswant Singh Khalra
Human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra was killed around 8 pm at the Chhabal police station of Amritsar district, India and his body was thrown into the Harike canal. This was disclosed by Kuldip Singh, special police officer and prime ...witness in the sensational Khalra disappearance case. The entire operation at the Chhabal police station where Khalra had been kept after being kidnapped by the police under orders from SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu, was supervised by Deputy Superintendent of Police Jaspal Singh. Ajit Singh Sandhu had later committed suicide. Jaswant Singh Khalra had been collecting information on extra-judicial killings by the poilce. He was kidnapped and kept under illegal police custody despite order to the contrary by the Spreme Court of India. Kuldip Singh narrated the scene before Khalra was killed. "He was made to stand, thrashed and pushed onto the ground. His legs were stretched apart, more than 180 degrees. Seven policemen kicked him in the abdomen and chest. Save me. Please give me some water, he cried. As I was about to fetch some water, I heard two shots. I ran back into the room and found him bleeding profusely. He had stopped breathing."
Last international speech
The following are excerpts from the English version of the last international speech given by Jaswant Singh Khalra:
I have come to Canada to talk about a report. That report describes the story of oppression of the p...ast ten years. When we started that report, we had before us hundreds of reports, but there was one question to which none of those reports provided the answer. That question was: Thousands of mothers await their sons even though some may know that the oppressor has not spared their sonís lives on this earth. But a motherís heart is such that even if she sees her sonís dead body, she does not accept that her son has left her. And those mothers who have not even seen their childrenís dead bodies, they were asking us: at least find out, is my son alive or not?
But when we started talking about this issue, then countless mothers, countless sisters werenít ready to say that their loved one has disappeared. They said, "Son, if you take this issue further and our son is still alive, they will kill him Ė donít talk about this, we are not going to tell even you."
So we produced a rough estimate for the public that in Amritsar district alone, 2,000 children are missing and the government must tell us where they are. The government was quiet. Then, we filed a petition before the High Court on behalf of some families, asking the Court to tell us where those children are. The government then gave an affidavit denying any knowledge about these children.
When the issue progressed, then the person in-charge of the oppression, KPS Gill said in a press conference in Amritsar, "These Human Rights Wing folks are not doing anything on human rights. They have one motive, to prop up their agenda, so that there is no peace in Punjab . They are ISI [Pakistan ís Inter-Service Intelligence] agents and are hatching a conspiracy to discourage the police machinery to re-incite militancy." KPS Gill went onto the extent of saying, "Iíll tell you where those kids are." He said, "These kids are in Europe, in Canada , and in America , where they are earning their daily wages. And these human rights organizations are telling us that thousands of kids have disappeared." This was a challenge to us. This was a challenge to that truth which we sought to bring forward. Then, brothers, in order to bring this truth to the public, accompanied by evidence, we put ourselves on an arduous task where we had to confront various dangers. But we went there where our brothers had gone. We went to the cremation grounds. We went and asked the employees there just tell us this much that during this time, how many dead bodies did the police give you? Some said we burned 8-10 every day. Some said there was no way to keep an account; sometimes a truck full of bodies came, and sometimes 2-4 dead bodies. When we said we need an account, they told us we could get the account from one place: "The police gave us the dead bodies, and the municipal committee gave us the firewood."
So brothers! when we received this truth, we went to that countryís High Court. We knocked on the doors of Punjab and Haryana High Court, and asked, Oh Oppressors!, at least give us the detail that which dead body belongs to whom so that we can tell each mother, sister, so we can tell each father. So they can say their prayers to Almighty which they have been keeping in their heart, "Almighty, please let my son rest at your feet"... But that country, that calls itself the largest democracy and lover of justice, its High Court told us,"This is not public interest litigation. This creates a huge issue. Instead, do this - Send to us each of that family to whom the dead bodies belong and we will give them the information." A mockery has been made of the law. A mockery has been made of the Sikh nation. And a mockery has been made of those people, who are not asking for anything other than a death certificate.
But the biggest court of all is the peopleís court and we want to go to the peopleís court on a worldwide level and say to the world, "You have called us terrorist. You have called us communalists. But those whom you have called the prophets of democracy, recognize their reality and then tell us who is ultimately the terrorist and who is righteous?" We can say often that we have suffered much oppression. But we have not had the practice or training of keeping a complete record of that oppression. About 50,000, about 1 million Ė we say all of that. The educated people of the world do not trust that, they need exact figures. And for that, I also say, that you all should unite on this issue. This issue is not just the issue for those families. This is the [Sikh] nationís issue, humanityís issue. You all should present this issue, in whatever way you can. Condemn that government, that machinery, that justice system, and tell the truth to people. Please Brothers help us in this work.
So my brothers, pray to the Guru that we maintain our self-respect. We must safeguard the work for which we were created and earn the pleasure of the Guru. We ask the Guru for everything, but we're afraid to ask the Guru for that one gift. The Guru has many gifts, but what is the greatest gift the Guru has? The greatest gift is not milk, is not a son. And now the Guru does not even pass on the guruship to anyone. The Guru cannot make any saint a guru now. When the Guru gave the guruship to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Guru kept one special gift, which any Sikh could invite. And after the time of the (Ten) Gurus, Sikhs paid so much respect to that special gift.
And that special gift, which the Guru possesses, is the gift of martyrdom. Those who receive this gift - they don't get to be Guru but after the Guru, they are the most respected people of our (Sikh) nation.
I hope - I am not a political leader, which could give you some political line or pull a political antic - from a human rights platform I will definitely say this to you: the Khalsa was inaugurated to protect human rights, the human rights of the world. And if you cannot protect your own human rights, you will not be able to give any definition of the Khalsa in the world.