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TRUTH   JUSTICE   FREEDOM

This is a story of a normal loving family who were all subjected to so much pain and torment due to the terror inflicted by authorities. 

 
This is the Mata ji Prakash Kaur and Bibi Paramjit Kaur, mother and wife of Bhai Baaz Singh who is currently been imprisoned in Amritsar Jail since 1997. This is a story of a normal loving family who were all subjected to so much pain and torment due to the terror inflicted by authorities. 
 
After marrying Bibi Paramjit Kaur in 1990, Baaz Singh resumed working on his ancestral land. Their married life was happy and blissful but within a few months harassment by police began. While working in the fields, local police decided to pick up Baaz Singh and ‘question’ him. In the 1980s and 90s this was a common procedure through which innocent people were illegally arrested and tortured. If families were reasonable well-off, they would pay the police off to save their loved ones but this would result in an endless cycle of needless arrests and families repeatedly giving money to police till they had nothing left. If however, the family was poor and they were not able to arrange for money, the innocent detainee was usually tortured and killed in a fake encounter and then identified as an unknown dreaded ‘terrorist’. This last procedure resulted in many promotions for police officials as they were seen to be eliminating apparent terrorism. In both cases, the police benefitted. It is in this context of corruption and violence that Bhai Baaz Singh was arrested and his family were harassed. 

 
The first time newly married Bhai Baaz Singh was illegally arrested, his family were able to get him released through giving money to police. After bring Bhai Baaz Singh home, the family thought they would be able to resume their lives. Yet this was not the end as the police knew that they could get more out of the family and maybe even promotions in the future. And so the police continued to harass the family which resulted in the death of Bhai sahib’s father who suffered a heart attack when he was harassed. This was when it got too much Bhai Baaz Singh decided to join the resistance movement. His story is like many others. He was pushed into joining the resistance movement after seeing his family and others suffering so much around him. Unlike the conventional narrative that authorities were and are working to rid these ‘criminal troublemakers’, we can see that the story is so different. People like Bhai Baaz Singh, his family and others were the victims of state tyranny which led many in joining various resistance movements as they saw no other way out in the current system. On joining the resistance movement, Bhai Baaz Singh’s family became even more anxious as they thought that now the police definitely would be pursuing Bhai sahib. On the pleas of his family, Bhai sahib surrendered himself in Sirhind and thought he would be able to go home a free man after giving himself up and had committed no wrongdoing. 
 
Despite Bhai Baaz Singh’s honourable action of surrendering to prevent his family from further harassment, it actually escalated. Due to the harassment, he and his wife had to go underground many times but this still did not deter police from harassing other family members and neighbours. Many times, bhai sahib’s wife was told to leave him by her own family but she refused. She simply said that it waheguru’s wish for her to be married to Bhai sahib and that she was happy with him despite the hardships. With all the families we work with, it is these glimpses of great love between people, for the Guru and for humanity in general that makes us determined to help families in need. 
 
Furthermore, Bhai sahib’s mata ji was illegally arrested alongside other relatives. She was locked up in a cell at the local police station for 18 days without any food and only a bit of water was given whenever the police officers chose to. Even now when Mata ji recalls her ordeal, she is unable to express what she endured and what she saw other people going through. She was suspended from the ceiling by being tied by her arms with ropes; she was then mercilessly beaten, spat on and verbally abused. It must be noted that throughout all of her abuse, there was no female officer present, only males. She saw many other families there too suffering the same abuse she was. She clearly remembers how officers would get drunk before carrying out the ‘roller technique’ in which a metal or wooden cylindrical device is rolled all over the detainee’s body. Throughout her detainment, Mata Ji saw so many people endure that brutal torture technique in which 5-6 officers would stand on the roller, drunk out of their minds while the screams of the tortured were interjected with the sobs of other detainees who were made to watch. Bhai Baaz Singh’s wife and many other relatives, even neighbours, were also illegally detained and tortured and to this day none of the officers have been held accountable for their actions. 
 
After spending years underground, Bhai sahib was arrested in 1997 and it does not need to be stated that he was mercilessly tortured for ‘questioning’ and as legal proceedings began he was sent to Amritsar Jail. Since 1990, the police have drained the family financially, emotionally and physically. For example, Mata Ji stated that before all of the family were younger, were able to endure the hardships but now everything has taken its toll. When there was no money left, the police did not relent; instead they came for the house and destroyed it to a pile of rubble. It is only in the last few years that, a few rooms have been rebuilt. 
 
 
 
After approximately six years of rigorous imprisonment, Bhai sahib has been given parole for 15 days at a time in which he is allowed home. Although he has completed his entire sentence, he is yet to be released and we are working hard to ensure this is done as soon as possible. For such families that have sacrificed so much for our nation, the least we can do is now support them and since this particular case has come to our attention, SOPW is providing legal and welfare support for Bhai Baaz Singh and his family. We humbly request that you support us in any way possible so that we are able to help this Gursikh family.   
 

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