From The Petition Filed in the Supreme Court of India ‘N a writ petition filed with the

Supreme Court of India, Mr. Balkar Singh, a Canadian citizen has given a detailed account of the third degree torture methods applied on him by the Punjab police. The petition falsifies the claims made by Mrs. Shashi Tripathi, Information Counselor, at the Indian High Commission in Ottawa who in the typically Indian fashion distorting facts, had criticized the Canadian newspapers for publishing “Sob Stories” without waiting for the results of the investigations. The truth, however, has come out and fact of torture has been confirmed by the Delhi based Canadian diplomat who met Mr. Balkar Singh and was told that the police had brutally tortured him.

Answering a question in the House of Commons, the Canadian External Affairs Minister, Mr. Joe Clark, revealed that he had summoned the Indian High Commission to Canada to protest the alleged “maltreatment” of a Canadian Sikh arrested in Punjab on November 1, 1987.

Mr. Clark also told the House of Commons that he resorted to the 1” diplomatic practice of summoning the envoy as Indian diplomats here had denied that a Canadian diplomat in Delhi had delivered a protest note last week to the Indian External Affairs Ministry over certain allegations of the “torture” of Mr. Balkar Singh, a Canadian Citizen.

“A protest was lodged with the Indian government in Delhi,” Mr. Clark said in answer to a question.

Mr. Paul McCrossan, a ruling Progressive Conservative MP from YorkScar borough in Ontario province, who asked the question, also wanted to know if Canada would “revoke” the extradition treaty with India in view of what he said were the “abuses” of the rights of arrested persons in that country.

“With regards to the extradition treaty, both sides will be expected to respect the application of the law”, Mr. Clark replied. It was premature to ask for the scrapping of the treaty he had personally signed in Delhi in February.

Canada had urged India to arrange for “immediate” medical examination of Mr. Singh who was arrested in Punjab.

The results of the investigations are there now for everyone to see including Mrs., Shashi Tripathi and the detailed account of the harrowing tortures to which a foreign national was subjected in a grim pointer to the tragic fate that the Sikh youths have to face in the “unusual police interrogation cells. Quite a few of them meet their end in staged police encounters. In his petition to the Chief Justice of India, Mr. Balkar Singh pleads as follows:—

Most Respectfully Showeth:

  1. The Petitioner is filing this Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India for the restoration of his liberty and/or to be tried expeditiously in a accordance with the law of the land.
  2. The brief facts of the case are that the Petitioner who is a Canadian Citizen came to India on valid travel documents which were issued to him after complete verification which took approximately three weeks; the visa was specifically endorsed for visit to Amritsar District. On 7th October, 1987, the Petitioner landed at Amritsar from Canada.
  3. That on 2nd November, 1987, around 9:30 a.m. the Petitioner was arrested from Amritsar International Hotel, Amritsar, when he was blindfolded and taken to an unknown place which the Petitioner later came to know was Mal Mandi, C.R.P.F. Headquarters at Amritsar.

On arrival at the predestined place, the Petitioner was directed to strip off all his clothes and was made to stand stalk naked in the middle of the room. Within a minute or two thereafter the following police officers, namely:

1, Gurmail Singh, Bhai, and D.S.P.

  1. S.P. Mittal, D.S.P.
  2. Dhillon, D.S.P.
  3. Rajinder Singh, S.P., Detective (A clean shaven officer),
  4. Virk, D.L.G.
  5. Aszar Alam, SSP, Amritsar entered the room and without even bothering to ascertain any fact or elicit information started beating the Petitioner. Thereafter while the officers comfortably seated themselves a team of the members of the C.R.P.F. were called in and directed to begin the tortures.

4, That immediately upon the orders from Rajinder Singh, S.P., Detective in the presence of the officers named above, the C.R.. P.F. team went into action whereupon the Petitioner’s hands were tied behind his back and he was hamstrung from the ceiling. Thereafter, the Petitioner was tied fast at the ankles and one of the members of the team conducting the’ torture sat in between the legs and started jumping and pulling the Petitioner and using him as a swing. This continued till the shoulders of the Petitioner started swinging freely. The pain that resulted from this torture was incredible. After sometime the Petitioner was made to sit on a chair and strapped to it. Over here the team began administering electric shocks first to the penis then in the anus thereafter under the armpits, temple of the head and ultimately in the nose. The Petitioner need not carry on saying that the pain resulting thereafter was unbearable.

  1. That the next torture that was administered to the Petitioner was that he was made to sit on the ground with one man pressing his knee against the Petitioner’s back and two others gradually eagle spreading the legs to virtually an angle of 180 dearies. The pain in this torture was indeed the most. Legs were stretched to the limit where there is no control over them of the person being tortured and was left there magnifying the pain and thereafter gradually brought back by the members of the team administering this torture. This exercise the, Petitioner says, was carried out four times with slight intervals in between.
  2. That the next torture that was tried on the Petitioner was that he was made to lie down on his stomach with the hands behind his back and beaten mercilessly with a leather strap which the Petitioner has learnt is called the “CHITTAR PARADE”.
  3. That the next was a severe beating on the soles of the feet as a result of which even upto this day the Petitioner is unable to walk comfortably. In continuation of these tortures was that the Petitioner while lying on stomach was made to spread out his hands after the wrists were untied and one man stood on each hand while another kept jumping at the back.
  4. That various other tortures were carried out on the Petitioner such as putting chilies in the Anus can be narrated if the Court should so direct. These tortures continued for a period of 14hours where after the Petitioner was deader than alive and at one time was even considered dead by the torturing team
  5. That the Petitioner who is a God fearing man and like all others has always prayed for health, wealth and happiness, but for the first time he prayed for death which would have put an end to his miseries then and there rather than lingering them on even up to this day when he has little control over the actions of his limbs and is suffering immense pain continuously.

10, That the questions put to the Petitioner by the so called Interrogation Team were that:

i, How and in what manner was the Petitioner going to assess the underground movement and also that the Petitioner would be set free if he could have big fish arrested.

  1. The team kept asking for the alleged money and weapons.

iii, Another very surprised question that continued to be asked was what was the Petitioner’s role in the Kanishka Plane crash.

  1. In answer to the first question, the Petitioner had told the Team that he knew no body who is a big fish and if the entire police force is not able to catch how the Petitioner can catch them. In regard to the second question, the Petitioner replied that he is not a rich man and that he has brought no money for any unlawful purpose nor is in possession of and not aware of any weapons. As regards to Kanishka Plane crash, the Petitioner denied having anything to do with it and informed the Team that the first person to allege that the Sikhs had a hand in the Konishka plane crash is the Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajiv Gandhi. How the Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, came to know this before the Canadian or any other world organization is most surprising to all of us and it was to prove the Prime Minister right that the Government of India left no stone unturned. It even went to the extent of maligning the Sikhs as a Class the world over, this vilification campaign has finally recoiled.
  2. That the Petitioner says and: submits that the condition of the Petitioner after the torture was so bad that on one occasion, the Petitioner heard the officers suggesting that the Petitioner ought to be shot dead to avoid any implication while officers were of the opinion that kerosene oil be sprinkled and the Petitioner be burnt alive leaving no trace whatsoever of him. However, the Petitioner has survived and lives to tell the horrendous experience to: this Humble Court which is the guardian of the Constitution and the rights enshrined therein available to all mankind even a foreigner.
  3. That while the Petitioner was recovering in the C.R.P.F. Headquarters at Amritsar, a large number of persons continued to be tortured in the adjacent room day in and day out All those who survived the tortures but had become permanently disabled were shot dead and those who died their bodies were disposed of either by burning or by burial. All this the Petitioner overheard while he was in the adjacent room of the torture chamber. It is now the Petitioner has learnt the common knowledge amongst all in Punjab that young boys are being subjected to inhuman torture and those that do not survive the torture are unheard of while others who are permanently disabled are shot claiming to be an encounter.
  4. That the Petitioner remained in the C.R.P.F. Headquarters at Amritsar, Mal Mandi, till 6-11-1987 when he was formally shown to have been arrested and a remand obtained from the Magistrate.
  5. That the Petitioner complained to the Magistrate and demanded a medical treatment which was not taken note by the Magistrate in the first instance and on the subsequent hearing when the Advocate of the Petitioner filed an application on 13111987, an Order was made by Shri B.C. Rajput, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Amritsar, that the Petitioner be got medically examined from the Civil Surgeon, Amritsar at the cost of the Petitioner. This Order: till date has not been complied with,
  6. The Petitioner says and submits that the officials of the Canadian High Commission came to visit the Petitioner but their doctor was not allowed to examine him. On 13-12-1987, while the Petitioner was in judicial custody, Rajinder Singh, S.P. Detective and S.P. Mittal, D.S.P. again interrogated the Petitioner at the jail but on this occasion, the Petitioner was made to sit on a comfortable chair and both the officers talked in a very civil manner while another person kept taking photographs and recording the conversation. Obviously this was some sort of propaganda stunt.
  7. The Petitioner says and submits that even before the charge sheet is placed before the Court, the Police has been making false statements to the Press devoid of any truth or merit maligning the Petitioner and building up a public opinion against him.

18, That the petitioner says and submits that the Petitioner is entitled to and prays for a writ, order or direction for an expeditious trial in the event there are any charges against him and if not he ought to be released forthwith. The Petitioner has been in custody since 2111987 and is ready to face the trial in accordance with the law of this land.

  1. That the Petitioner is being threatened that in the event of the Petitioner making any disclosures about the tortures his family members who are Indian citizens would be involved in false cases and tortured just as the Petitioner has been or even eliminated.
  2. The Petitioner says and submits that he is making bold to bring to the notice of this humble court the conditions prevailing in the State of Punjab, particularly in Amritsar District, so that genocide and inhuman activities of the State Administration be put to all end and the rule of the law be established.


Article extracted from this publication >> January 29, 1988