NEW DELHI: Several civil and human rights activists jurists and academicians last week demanded the immediate release of Justice Ajit Singh Bains Chairman of Punjab Human Rights Organization (PHRO) who was detained on April 3 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (prevention) Act (TADA).

Participating in a meeting organized here jointly by the groups the Independent Indicative and the Committee for Information and Initiative on Punjab to protest Bains detention they alleged that the state was adopting extra-constitutional means to curb political dissent. The meeting was presided over by social scientist Raimi Kothari.

The meeting adopted is solution which condemned the detention of Bains and said “indiscriminate use of TADA in Punjab and other parts of the country” would undermine the democratic setup of the country. The participants decided to stage a protest in front of the residence of the Prime Minister

They also condemned what they called the “gross violation of human and civil rights” in Punjab and called for a political solution to the crisis in the state. Meanwhile leaders of the

Movement against State Repression (MASR) condemned the detention of Pritpal Singh former president of the Bharat Malki Morcha and demanded his immediate release.

Canadian human rights activists have condemned the arrest of Justice Bains and called for his immediate release the unjust detention of former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.”

According to Jeffrey Goodman human rights activist Bains is held in Chandigarh jail “without charge.”

“We feel badly that Bains who’s the chief of the human rights group in Punjab has been arrested by the government of India because of his opposition to human rights violations in India.”

Gurmit Kaur sister of Justice Bains said he was not a supporter of Khalistan. “My brother is not involved in Khalistan movement” she told India Abroad.

He has been arrested because of recent report of Amnesty International in which India has been criticized for human rights violations in Punjab Kashmir and other places she said. “Bains has supplied a lot of material and details of a number of cases of human rights violations cited in the Punjab.

Hardial Bains brother of Justice Bains was also present at the press briefing A Mississauga-based Sikh Human Rights group has written to Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney demanding his release

As a separate meeting at the community center at Milton a Toronto’s suburb several friends and relatives also protested against the arrest of Bains

Similar meeting took place last week in Winnipeg and Vancouver also.

Two Canadian writers Marlene Webber and David Caner also demanded his release

In New York an organization called Indian Progressive Study Groups demanded the immediate release of Bains and aid in a press release that with the arrest of people like Bains the state and central governments “are only contributing to the increase in tension and are pushing the prospect of a peaceful solution into the distant future.”

Article extracted from this publication >> May 8, 1996