Punjab: Murders Without Murderers
New evidence reveals 8,257 “disappearances” across Punjab from the 1980s to 1995, the group Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project and leading human rights defenders from Punjab and India announced last week. The significant news about “thousands of previously unknown, unclaimed, unidentified mass cremations” sheds new light on Punjab’s deadliest era since its Partition between India and Pakistan 70 years ag0. The conflict in Indian Punjab, which peaked between 1984 and 1994, claimed anywhere from 25,000 to 250,000 lives.
The regular police practice of secretly cremating victims of torture and killings became indisputable in 1995. What families of the “disappeared” in Punjab had known since the 1980s was proven in black and white: photocopied crematoria registers spoke of widespread police cover-ups. But justice continued to elude the victims’ families even in the small fraction of cases that were documented.
What Punjab’s survivors are striving for today echo demands heard throughout the world’s conflict areas. There is no magic switch to flip between conflict and peace, as illustrated by seminal transitional justice contexts such as Brazil or Guatemala or South Africa. But following acknowledgment — still a far cry for Punjab — various justice mechanisms should finally lift the shroud of impunity and enable people to live with their complex lives, on their own terms. This is not too tall an order, not for a democracy.
being grateful for what i have, the people who remained true, the lessons of hurt that made me grow and see clearer, our gurus and those who refused to give up their faith when faced with the option of life or death so i can be here free to write this, and countless other things is how all of us can thank waheguru without even having to say it. feelings of gratitude connects you to the oneness of the universe and separates you from the individuality of selfishness. so no matter what has happened or who has hurt you, step out of your confines and let the gratefulness of your past fill you with hope that your best days are still ahead of you, because they are. ~ inder