CHANDIGARH India: The 59th Amendment to the Constitution which empowers the Center to impose emergency in Punjab was condemned at a convention organized by the P.H.R.O. here. About 200 representatives of political parties and human rights Organizations participated and the Convention described the Amendment as the worst assault on the human rights and a move to perpetuate dynastic rule in the country. It decided to present a memorandum to the Punjab Governor against the measure on April 22. Mr. Sukhdev Singh, President of the P.H:R.O., told the convention that suspension of the right to life and liberty will not solve the problem as sixteen black laws passed earlier had failed to create peace in the state. Punjab should be brought at par with other States before tackling the problem. Others who spoke included P_N. Likhi. A noted lawyer. Mr. R.N. Kumar. A human rights activist in Delhi. Among the political parties which attended the convention was Jan Morcha of Mr. V.P. Singh and the B.K.U.. Indian Socialist Party. International Democratic Party. Punjab Inquilabi Morcha, Congress (S), Istri Akali Dal, Indian Democratic Party, Mukti Morcha, Indian Reople’s Front, Punjab Sikh Lawyers’ Council, Janata Party, C.P.1. (Paigham Group), Punjab Students Union, and Takht Sri Patna Sahib. Junior leaders of the U.A.D. also participated but no senior leader ‘was present, General Narinder Singh who was recently released from jail was also present.

The P.H.R.O, President in his inaugural address demanded that all draconian laws including the 59th Amendment be repealed and rule of law be restored in Punjab by dismantling the police state. He also asked for the release of all Punjab detainees in the State and elsewhere in India including those in Jodhpur jail. Arrest and punishment of those responsible for the November, 84 killings and indicted by the Independent Inquiry Commission and also trial and punishment to those responsible for staging fake encounters in Punjab. He also demanded census to determine the number of dead and missing ever since the beginning of the struggle in Punjab and sought compensation to the nextofkin of the deceased. Reinstatement of army deserters and police personal removed from service. He demanded the inclusion of left out Punjabi speaking areas in Punjab and restoration of the Bhakra Nangal Project to the State and Punjab’s total right over its River waters and dismantling of SYL Canal.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 15, 1988