India: Information on the Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) and the Khalra Mission Committee, including location, organizational structure, date of origin, activities, and names of leaders and spokespeople
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||11 July 2011|
|Citation / Document Symbol||IND103790.E|
|Related Document||Inde : information sur l'Organisation de la mission Khalra (Khalra Mission Organisation - KMO) et le Comité de la mission Khalra (Khalra Mission Committee), y compris leurs emplacements, leurs structures organisationnelles, leurs dates de fondation, leurs activités, ainsi que les noms de leurs dirigeants et porte-parole|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, India: Information on the Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) and the Khalra Mission Committee, including location, organizational structure, date of origin, activities, and names of leaders and spokespeople, 11 July 2011, IND103790.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50b494522.html [accessed 13 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to sources consulted by the Research Directorate, the Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) and the Khalra Mission Committee are two distinct Punjabi human rights groups named after the late Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human rights activist (Advocate 29 June 2011; WSO 28 June 2011).
In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada stated that the Khalra Mission Organisation was originally formed in 1995 and "was initially called the 'Khalra Action Committee' which was changed to 'Khalra Mission Committee' in 1998 and later in 2005 became known as the 'Khalra Mission Organisation '" (ibid.). The WSO representative also added that another group continues to use the name Khalra Mission Committee (ibid.).
In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a Chandigarh-based advocate who has practiced before the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who is also the General Secretary of Lawyers for Human Rights International, also based in Chandigarh, explained that the family and friends of Khalra "formed a group in his name, which later on got further divided to another group. So both these groups claim the legacy of Jaswant Singh Khalra and are working on human rights issues in Punjab" (29 June 2011).
According to the WSO representative,
Mr. Khalra was a well known human rights activist, who uncovered the killing and illegal cremation of thousands of individuals by the Punjab Police in the early 90s. He was abducted and killed in 1995 after returning from a trip to Canada in which he spoke to the Sikh community and politicians about the human rights situation in Punjab. (28 June 2011)
The WSO representative added that
KMO has been involved in investigating illegal killings by the Indian security forces in Punjab as well as pressing for the prosecution of those officers who were involved in the killing of Mr. Khalra. It is overseeing several cases which are pending in the Supreme Court of India. (28 June 2011)
Details on the organizational structure of the KMO were not found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the KMO website lists the following individuals as its office holders:
Patron: Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Khalra
Patron: Dalbir Singh Ganapind
President: Harmandeep Singh Sarhali
Vice-President: Virsa Singh Bhela
Spokesman: Satinder Singh Palasour (KMO n.d.a)
The WSO representative corroborated the list of officials, but without mentioning a vice-president (28 June 2011).
According to both the KMO website and the WSO representative, the KMO office is located at 8 Kabir Park, Amritsar in Punjab, India (ibid.; KMO n.d.b.). The KMO website specifies that its office is found "opposite Guru Nanak Dev University" (ibid.).
Regarding the group which continues to call itself the Khalra Mission Committee, the WSO representative stated that "[i]t is not a very prominent group and has no link with the current KMO" (28 June 2011). According to the WSO representative, the office holders of the Khalra Mission Committee are as follows:
Jasbir Singh Padhari - President
Surinder Singh Ghariala - Patron
Balwinder Singh Jhabal - General Secretary (ibid.)
Further information on the Khalra Mission Committee could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Advocate, Supreme Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh. 29 June 2011. Correspondence to the Research Directorate.
Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO). N.d.a. "KMO."
Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO). N.d.b. "Contact."
World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada. 28 June 2010. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: A representative of Ensaaf and a professor emeritus of political science with the University of Missouri did not provide information within the time constraints of this Response.
Internet sites, including: Ensaaf, Factiva, Human Rights in Punjab, Oneindia, Onlypunjab.com, Panthic.org, Punjab Newsline, Sikh Vichar Manch, SikhNet, Sikhs India, The Sikh Times, The Tribune, Voices for Freedom.