All the human rights organisations in Punjab strongly oppose any move of the tainted police officers of Punjab Police to get general amnesty and the inclination of the State government in condoning the heinous criminal acts by Punjab police in the past. It is our considered view that under no circumstances, means can justify the end. The police officers who had exceeded their powers under the orders of their seniors and committed excesses on innocent people does not have mouth to claim immunity. Moreover, when they had got gallantry medals and out of turn promotions, besides monetary awards for killing alleged militants, they should face the consequences of their wrong doings. Why did they forget that they had ruined thousands of families of innocent human beings by killing the head of the family, simply on the orders of their superiors without thinking about the kith and kin of the victims and how could do they now plead for mercy in the name of their children.
If these policemen had done any brave and rightful act, then why are they afraid of the law and accuse the courts of humiliation and victimisation. The act of returning the medals or gallantry awards by the tainted policemen of Punjab police in protest against their prosecution would be taken to be an act of guilty conscious mind, which cannot overcome the burden of committing heinous crimes against humanity. This planned and sustained campaign of seeking immunity by the Policemen and pressure tactic adopted by way of returning the awards has raised another pointing question that whether the so-called awards in the form of gallantry medals, monetary rewards, out of turn promotions and extra-judicial powers were given to deserving persons or handpicked by the senior officers who obeyed their orders without raising any question ? It would be, therefore, in the fitness of things if a judicial commission is established to inquire into the reasons for giving awards to the Punjab policemen in the past and all the awards and rewards of national honor should be forthwith withdrawn from all the un-deserving policemen and all policemen participating in any function or show for any political purpose to return the National gallantry medal or award must be booked for indiscipline under Section 3(2) of “The Police force (Restrictions of Rights) Act, 1966” and should be punished with imprisonment for a term of two years.
The following resolutions are unanimously passed by the people of Punjab in the Protest Rally on 13th August, 2001 in Sector 17, Chandigarh : –
1. The people of Punjab and Human Rights Organisations DEMAND from the State Government that all the Punjab police personnel indicted, suspended, facing court cases or departmental inquiry in cases of human rights violations should be forthwith dismissed under Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India.
2. The people of Punjab and Human Rights Organisations feel that gallantry medals and out of turn promotions given to most of the Punjab police personnel during the last about 15 years have not been given on merits and to the deserving personnel. Rather these were given to such personnel who were responsible in violating the human rights, therefore, we DEMAND that all the gallantry medals and out of turn promotions given to such police personnel should be forthwith withdrawn, especially of those who have been indicted for torture, custodial death, abduction and fake encounter.
3. The people of Punjab and Human Rights Organisation feel that it is the moral and legal duty of the State of Punjab to pay compensation to the kith and kin of the victims of State Repression, therefore we DEMAND that compensation should be given to the next of the kin of the victims of Police excesses in Punjab during the past.
4. The people of Punjab and Human Rights Organisations DEMAND for the appointment of a Judicial Commission to find out the number of persons tortured, killed in custody by the Police or eliminated in fake encounters, forced disappearances, illegal detention by the police personnel and other forces.
5. The people of Punjab and Human Rights Organisations DEMAND from the State Government to set up Special Courts for expeditious trial of the Punjab police personnel who are facing trials for kidnapping, custodial deaths, fake encounters, forced disappearances. The experience has shown that their trials are tardy or being prolonged to benefit them in the long run and as a result of this, the victimised families are loosing faith in the justice system as a whole.
6. The people of Punjab and Human Rights Organisations also DEMAND that their should be an independent Inquiry Commission with persons heading various human rights organisations on panel, to probe into the events for granting out of turn promotions, rewards, awards and gallantry medals given to Punjab police personnel during the last 15 years and if after finding that the medals, awards and out of turn promotions were not given on merits, but because of their criminal acts in killing innocent people terming them to be terrorist, torturing them or showing them to be killed in fake encounter, the gallantry medals, awards and out of turn promotions should be forthwith withdrawn from such un-deserving personnel.
7. There have been lot of voices that the police personnel of Punjab have amassed huge wealth & property, totally disproportionate to the known sources of their income and they are responsible for looting, extortion of big amounts from the people for releasing their innocent relatives in addition to grabbing other properties or acquiring benami ones. Apart from this, a large number of police personnel have sent their wards and members of family to foreign countries by spending lacs of rupees. In order to set the matter right, we DEMAND that another Judicial Commission should be constituted to inquire into the list of property and wealth possessed by all the Punjab police personnel and if it is found to be disproportionate to their known source of income, or acquired illegally, all the property and wealth should be confiscated or restored to the lawful owners and police personnel found in possession of disproportionate wealth and property should be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
(AMAR SINGH CHAHAL)