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India: The harassment, attacks against and disappearances of members by police of the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF), especially of the Mehta Chawla faction, and on the harassment of AISSF family members (1997-1998)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 September 1998
Citation / Document Symbol IND29990.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, India: The harassment, attacks against and disappearances of members by police of the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF), especially of the Mehta Chawla faction, and on the harassment of AISSF family members (1997-1998), 1 September 1998, IND29990.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6abe87c.html [accessed 18 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis 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.

 

For information on the current situation in Punjab, including the treatment of human rights workers and others, please consult IND29992.E of 17 August 1998.

Ram Narayan Kumar, a noted non-Sikh human rights activist and convenor of the People's Commission on Human Rights Violations in Punjab, states that the Mehta Chawla faction of AISSF is a founding member of the Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab, which was formed in November 1997 to collect information on the disappeared of Punjab, to develop a system of state accountability, to increase the pressure of public opinion against the bid for immunity, to lobby the Indian government to change its domestic laws to conform with UN conventions on torture, forced disappearances, accountability and compensation of victims of misuse of power, among other things (18 July 1998). At the time of its inception, the Coordination Committee was an umbrella organization of 18 political parties and human rights organizations, and a number of individuals (ibid.).

Cynthia Keppley Mahmood stated in her presentation at an 18 July 1998 international symposium on "Human Rights Abuses in Punjab" (held at Columbia University in New York) that there are today three categories of people who remain at "significant risk" in India. The first category consists of militants or perceived militants, Khalistani activists and their family members and close supporters who "top the list." Anyone who is thought to have, at the present time or previously, association with Khalistanis also continues to be harassed. The second category of persons at risk are those known as "history sheeters" or "habitual offenders," persons who have records of past arrests and detentions. Since lists of history sheeters continue to be maintained, whenever something happens, these persons are rounded up and brought in for questioning. The third category of persons at risk are women.

Cynthia Keppley Mahmood is an anthropologist at the University of Maine in Orono. She is a noted specialist on Sikh militancy in Punjab and author of Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants (1996). She has appeared as an expert witness for the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board as well as for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). She regularly provides the Research Directorate with information on Sikh militants and Sikh militancy.

Additional information on the Mehta Chawla faction of AISSF and on the treatment of AISSF family members 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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Kumar, Ram Narayan. 18 July 1998. Evidence of Extra-Judicial Killings in Punjab. (Prepared for the 18 July 1998 symposium on "Human Rights in Punjab: Unanswered Questions," Columbia Unversity, New York.)

Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley. 18 July 1998. Presentation at a symposium on "Human Rights in Punjab: Unanswered Questions," Columbia Unversity, New York.

Additional Sources Consulted

The Tribune [Chandigarh]. Daily. 15-31 March 1998.

Electronic sources: Internet.

Non-documentary sources:

Unsuccessful attempts to contact two oral sources.

Two other oral sources did not have any information on the requested subject.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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