Published On: Fri, Sep 6th, 2013

In Tribute – Shaheed Jaswant Singh Khalra

Eighteen years ago today, KP- Gill and his minions kidnapped, tortured and eventually killed on of the Panth’s brightest star, the human rights activist Bhai Sardar Jaswant Singh Khalra.  He was, of course just one of thousands, tens of thousands, lakhs who disappeared in Punjab during the 1980s and 1990s.

In his last speech made to a Canadian audience, Jaswant Singh Khalra discusses his investigations into the thousands of illegal killings and secret cremations by the Punjab police and his readiness to die to expose the truth about these crimes. Jaswant Singh Khalra begins his speech with a moving fable about the struggle of truth and light against expanding darkness. He recounts how he traced the fate of many disappeared Sikhs to Amritsar’s municipal cremation grounds. Through government records obtained from these municipalities, Khalra exposed a detailed history of systematic human rights violations in which security forces abducted, murdered, and secretly cremated an estimated 6,017 Sikhs in Amritsar district alone–then one of 13 districts in Punjab–from 1984 to 1995. (Apr. 1995)

He dedicated his life to tracking down those who had disappeared, to find out what really happened to them.  He discovered the truth and for that he had to die.

He was not secretly cremated.  It is reported that after being held and tortured for over a month, pieces of his body were thrown into the Sutlej River on 24 October 1995.  The next time you look into the waters of this one of the Five Rivers remember our brother’s body floating, in pieces, down its waters.

There were 6 Punjab Policemen charged with his murder.  Five were convicted and awarded life sentences.  The sixth was acquitted.  The most guilty criminal of the gang, KP- Gill remains at large and securely protected by the government of India.