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Punjabi Sikh Films Raise Awareness


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Punjabi Sikh films raise awareness

By David Lee


The Punjabi Sikh Awareness Society (PSAS) hosted a screening of the documentaries “The Last Killing” and “Seeking Ensaaf” on Tuesday night at the University Student Union to spread awareness of the “Decade of Disappearance.”

The “Decade of Disappearance” is a time period from 1985 to 1995 when Punjabi police officers enforced the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) act (TADA), an anti-terrorism act enacted by the Parliament of India in 1985 to combat the ongoing Sikh insurgency.

Sikhism is a religion in Punjab, a northern region in India.

Under the TADA act, security forces were granted arbitrary powers to arrest and detain people without ordinary legal safe guards or charge and trial, it criminalized free speech, and police officials could respond on behalf of the judicial process or in some cases act as the judge.

From 1985 to 1995, the Punjabi police detained and killed many Sikhs under TADA. Many families did not know their detained relatives were killed and later cremated.

Ensaaf, an international human rights organization, is a nonprofit that goes to Punjab to document Sikhs who were victims of the “Decade of Disappearance.”

Bachittar A. Singh, program manager at Ensaaf, said he hopes students become more active in their own respective communities if they’ve dealt or dealing with similar political strife.

“I want them to be realistic and active,” Singh said. “I want them to be more involved in not just their own community but more involved in the sense that this is something other communities have done and we need to try what they have and succeeded at.”

Simranjit Singh, a PSAS member, said the overall goal of the club is to raise awareness on campus about local Punjabi Sikhs and their history.

“If you see somebody wearing a PSAS shirt, don’t be afraid to walk up to us and ask as many questions as you want,” Singh said. “We’re here to raise awareness, that’s the goal of the club.”

Singh, said the Enssaf and PSAS presentation could increase the PSAS presence, particularly for Fresno State students to gain some knowledge of Punjabi Sikh history.

“It could open windows to realizing that other people in this world are also suffering and maybe we can work together,” Singh said.


Oct 21, 2009
I wonder as to why SGPC played a dormant and ineffective role during the period under review. I am told that there are ample proofs that ordinary civilians were also harassed and the armed Police men and para military forces had hey days. Role of KPS gill is also under scanner. Fake encounters were also order of the day.

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