Mandeep Kaur forwarded this.
(Fremont, CA, June 5, 2009) Operation “Blue Star” marked the beginning of the Government of India’s systematic policy in Punjab of destroying fundamental human rights in the name of “national security,” and launched a new era of impunity and the erosions of the rule of law in India.
View our photo essay on Blue Star, containing images from the assault and eyewitness accounts. For a detailed account, read Chapter 1 of Ensaaf’s report Twenty Years of Impunity.
Twenty-five years ago, on June 2, 1984, the Indian government declared Punjab a “restricted area,” banning travel to Punjab and the Indian Army assumed police functions. On June 3, the government imposed a statewide shoot-on-sight curfew, forbade news coverage of the attack, and cut phone lines across Punjab. Eyewitnesses reported that over 10,000 pilgrims and 1,300 workers had gathered inside the Harminder Sahib complex (popularly known as the Golden Temple) by June 3 to join a civil disobedience campaign or to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of the fifth Sikh Guru. The Harmandir Sahib complex—the center of Sikh religious and political life—is located in Amritsar city.
Beginning on June 4, the Indian army launched a full-scale military assault upon on the complex and attacked 41 other gurdwaras (Sikh house of worship) on the pretext of removing armed militants quartered in these gurdwaras. During the three-day assault, the military employed cannons, tanks, helicopters, and special forces to target those trapped inside the gurdwara complex. Inside the complex, the Akal Takht suffered destruction of its first floor; bullets punctured the Harmandir Sahib; and the Army looted and burned down the Sikh Reference Library, housing rare manuscripts and Sikh artifacts.
After the initial military operations ended, military personnel detained and executed civilians and non-combatants captured alive in the gurdwara complex, including women and children. One eyewitness reported military personnel executing 150 Sikhs at point blank range, after tying their hands behind their backs with their turbans.
The Army never released a list of the dead. To destroy the evidence of its crimes, the military secretly cremated en mass the bodies of its victims. Security forces would continue to use secret mass cremations for more than a decade after Operation Blue Star to destroy the bodies of victims of its “disappearances” and extrajudicial executions, extensively discussed in Ensaaf’s recent reports.
Twenty-five years later, the government continues to refuse to hold accountable senior military officials, civilian leaders, or lower level military personnel responsible for targeting civilians and the excessive use of force during the military operation. International humanitarian law (IHL), or the law of war, requires the military to make a distinction at all times between military targets and civilian life and property, and strictly prohibits military from targeting civilians. Targeting civilians during a conflict constitutes a grave breach of IHL. International humanitarian law further requires the use of force to be proportionate to an actual threat. Given the large number of civilians killed and the extent of damage caused to the Harmandir Sahib complex during the operation, the Indian army’s use of force was excessive and violates the principal of proportionality.
Without a true accounting of the abuses perpetrated by the government, as well as justice and reparations for victims and survivors, impunity will continue to prevail in India. Ensaaf’s joint report with Human Rights Watch suggests a comprehensive framework to address the institutionalized impunity that has prevented accountability in Punjab from 1984 to 1995. The detailed recommendations include establishing a commission of inquiry, a special prosecutor’s office, and an extensive reparations program.
Reprinted from an Ensaaf Press Release
The folks over Gursikh Speedmeeting are at it again. Here are the details of their next event, a Gursikh Cruise:
GSSM: A Golden Opportunity for Gursikh Singles to Mingle!
June 27th, 2009 in New York City
What is GSSM?
Good relationships are built on understanding, communication and trust. We all know that only happens face-to-face. GurSikhSpeedMeetings provide a way for individuals to meet with other GurSikhs one-on-one to see if there is that “CLICK”.
How Does it Work?
GSSM assembles a manageable group of Gursikh men and women at a stylish venue. Typically, 15 Sardarnis and an equal number of Sardars participate in the event. The meeting begins with about 30 minutes of casual mingling and ice-breakers to take into account for IST. After that, the speedmeet begins. The women take their chosen seats and the men take their assigned seats. After 10 minutes, the men are rotated (yes, they favor the ladies!), so that in approximately 2 hours, each registrant spends 10 minutes with every person of the opposite gender. During all communications, the organizers stress the GSSM rules and only after a mutual “CLICK” is established will any contact information be shared.
What to expect from GSSM?
Meet other Gursikhs in an opportunity that is not offered anywhere else.
Make new friends and contacts.
Realize that this event is not just for matrimonial purposes.
Be assured that your contact details will remain private till a “CLICK” is agreed.
Expect an awkward and anxiety filled evening, but be pleasantly surprised when you end up having fun!
Select Testimonials from Past Events
“I loved it! I think the time allotted for each person was perfect. Nice venue. Good food. This was truly a lovely event .
“It was a great experience!!! Very well organised. Never thought these many girls were looking for Gursikh boys.”
“Met some great prospects. A lot of good eligible bachelors who were educated and well-rounded.”
“I was reluctant at first, but I did enjoy myself. It was nice! You should hold another one in a few months!”
“It was really fun, you did a great effort, please organise it again. As you stated repeatedly, marriage should not be the sole motive as I made some great friends tonight.”
“I had fun…met great guys. Thanks for conducting this and hope you will organize more meetings.”
“Great job! Keep running these events. You guys rock! Thanks a lot!”
We have added an optional NYC cruise before the evening GSSM event on the 27th of June. This is based on feedback from previous participants, who expressed a desire for such an event in order to allow more time for informal mingling.
NYC Cruise Details
Experience the grandeur of New York’s skyline on this two-hour highlights cruise. Sit back and relax while you cruise past New York’s major sights, and enjoy a close encounter of the best kind with the Statue of Liberty. Your cruise takes you sailing down the Hudson, around Battery Park, up the East River, past the South Street Seaport and under the Brooklyn Bridge. Part entertainer, part historian, your knowledgeable tour guide brings New York’s breathtaking sights and fascinating history to life.
Additional Service of “VIRTUAL CLICKS”
Each event is unique in that it is solely dependant on the participants, but potential “CLICKS” could occur with individuals from past events.
Behind the scenes, time is spent on connecting people outside the normal GSSM events to see if potential matches can be made with previous participants.
Criteria is met and the ice is broken as there is a common denominator of having attended at least 1 GSSM event.
First step is to mutually approve of individual descriptions (restricted access on site is under development).
Pictures are then provided, if mutually approved again, only then is contact info exchanged resulting in a “VIRTUAL CLICK”!
How to Register
There are a limited number of seats, so reserve your seat today! From experience, the GSSM events get registered for quickly and many Singhs and Singhnis have been turned away well before the registration deadline!
To request further information, please send an email to email@example.com
To register, please visit www.gursikhspeedmeeting.com