EVER since the attack on the Golden Temple, Amritsar, by the Indian army on June 3, 1984, Punjab has been remained a living hell. The army remained in complete occupation of the State for more than a year after the attack,

The army committed unprecedented atrocities on the people. The army would surround the entire village. Take all men, women and children out of the village and make them sit outside any shelters in extreme heat and cold (winter and summer months) for a whole night, ransack their belongings, enter their places of worships desecrating all they found there.

Under these circumstances, the Sikhs in the entire state became agitated and started rising against this humiliating treatment and stood against the authorities in self-defense.

During this process they entered the Gurdwara of Sector 15 at Chandigarh where I was living. I was in the Gurdwara. They (army soldiers) questioned every one present there. Most of the: people spoke uprightly and with dignity. I also did the same. They noted the names and addresses of all those and told them that they were “Terrorists” and that their names would be left in their respective police stations.

As soon as the army was withdrawn from the State, the police started harassing those people whose names were given to them by the army. The police started calling them to the police stations ‘one by one interrogating. Harassing and torturing them. Those who maintained dignity were brutally tortured.

I was also called to the police station of Sector 15 at Chandigarh first on June 1. 1985 when the Sikhs were demonstrating their anger marking the first year after the attack on the Golden Temple on June 3, 1984. They coerced me to admit that 1 was also working for Khalistan. I said I am not working for Khalistan but I do object to our people being subjected to indignity and torture without any fault I was Kept there for ten days in a cell and was allowed only a meager amount of food, water and! Clothing. When their efforts to extract confession under duress failed, they released me subject to be recalled as and when necessary.

I was taken to the police station ‘on 3 June 1986 and subjected to the treatment as before. I was detained for 15 days this time and. they threatened me of very serious consequences if I did not confess. Not to deceive my conscience I stood firm in my convictions and did not confess anything contrary to the facts. This annoyed them so much that they threatened me that I would be killed. But soon they released me.

During that time there were stories in circulation that the police call Sikhs to the police stations for a few time and if they did not confess what they wanted them to confess, they would take them out of the police stations at night and throw them in canals or rivers after shooting them.

This bewildered me with my children, two of them minor. In the meantime a young man came from Canada on a visit to Punjab. I gave him my elder daughter in marriage. She is now living in Toronto with her husband.

Finding the law and order situation further deteriorating in Punjab I was very seriously exposed to danger of being killed by the police having been threatened to that effect before, I requested my daughter to send me sponsorship visa for a visitor in Canada. She obliged me and I came here on 21 October 1987. The current visa expired on 14 January 1988. I shifted my two minor children (one boy and one girl) in a village with a friend without anybody knowing about their whereabouts. My life is in danger if I return to Punjab, hence this request.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 19, 1988