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Jaswinder Singh was born in a relatively poor Hindu Rajput family. His parents Prabhu Dyal and Maya Devi had been childless for years until a family member urged them to do ardaas at Dukhanawaran Gurdwara Sahib, Patiala. Hence, Jaswinder Singh was born and his parents started to learn more about Sikhi. Since childhood Jaswinder Singh maintained a great interest and love for Sikhi and decided to take amrit in 2007.

After undertaking a diploma in I.T., he worked in a small computer store before deciding to open up his own I.T. and web design business in his hometown. His business was doing well and he was able to look after his elderly parents. Whilst he was working in 2009, Jaswinder took part in a protest in Ludhiana to non-violently protest against the activities of the Divya Jyoti Jagran Group.  Many Sikh activists took part in this protest and were consequently injured (one person died) when the police decided to shoot the peaceful protesters, therefore causing clashes. Among the injured was Jaswinder Singh who suffered grave bullet wounds to the ribcage. One of the bullets was deeply lodged in his ribcage had to be removed after a series of complex medical operations. It was during this time in late 2009 that Jaswinder came under the radar of the authorities.

Once Jaswinder finally recovered and went back to managing his business, he continued to remain involved in local Sikh community events. For example, Jaswinder had arranged and managed the local Nagar Kirtan and soon after this he was illegally arrested from his home in July 2010. Police had surrounded his home around 3.30am and a small group of officers illegally entered the property by climbing onto the first floor and waking up Jaswinder’s father. After heavily guarding the visibly distraught parents, a small number of officers entered Jaswinder’s bedroom and locked the door to interrogate him. Jaswinder’s parents pleaded with officers around them to tell them why their only son was being verbally and physically abused by officers in his bedroom. Jaswinder’s parents were repeatedly ignored and after fifteen minutes, officers emerged from the bedroom, holding Jaswinder by his arms and legs and announced that they would be taking him for a ‘quick questioning’ session. The police officers also kept confusing Jaswinder’s parents in regards to where they would be taking him and finally told them an incorrect location. This is a common psychological tactic implemented by Punjab police to prevent families in locating the whereabouts of their loved ones, thus increasing the time of illegal custody subsequent torture.     

While Jaswinder started to be roughly escorted to the police vehicles parked outside, his elderly parents ran after him. They were forcefully pulled away from their son and heavily guarded by armed police while onlookers started to gather on the street to see what the commotion was. The police immediately took Jaswinder to a CIA interrogation centre in Khanna ad as soon as he was dragged into a cell, three to four officers started hitting him as they tied his hands behind his back. Jaswinder’s arms continued to be stretched and raised by ropes hung from the ceiling and walls. This torture technique broke his shoulder joints. Jaswinder’s legs were also stretched out and the hip muscles were torn while metal rods were placed on top of his thighs. Officers then stood on them and rotated the rods on his thighs and they took turns to do this. Jaswinder continued to be tortured like this for eight whole days during the remand period. During this time he was not allowed to sleep and the torture worsened as he was stripped naked and electrocuted. Despite losing consciousness many times during such horrific torture, various groups of officers showed no mercy and continued to question and beat him. As Jaswinder was stripped of his dignity and absolutely no humanity was shown by police officers, his parents suffered from chronic insomnia and anxiety attacks which still affect them now. If the parents hear any sound in the night, they immediately become scared and are constantly reminded of the night their son was taken away from them. Such anxiety has affected their mental and physical well being.   

Since Jaswinder Singh’s case has come to the attention of SOPW, our team has been legally and financially supporting Jaswinder and his parents. Recently Jaswinder’s parents sent SOPW the following message: ‘We humbly thank SOPW and all the justice and freedom loving sangat that support our son and us. Even though our son tries to console us and tell us that he is in chardikala, we have noticed that our once animated son has lost his vitality. The effect of the arrest, torture and imprisonment takes a toll not only on the person being illegally arrested but on the family too. It is only with your help and love that we are continuing to fight for justice’.   

Thank you to all who continue to support SOPW.

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