Update to IND35619.E of 18 October 2000 and IND30125.E of 24 September 1998 on whether Punjab police continue to extort bribes from Sikhs and threaten prosecution for trumped-up charges; whether there are higher levels of state protection to counter these activities (1998-2002) [IND38292.E]

This Response provides information in addition to that provided by the Punjab Human Rights Organization (PHRO) in IND36072.E of 25 April 2001.

A report by the Danish Immigration Service on a fact-finding mission in Punjab from 21 March to 5 April 2000 to investigate the position of the Sikhs stated that according to many sources, "the police were still arresting and accusing people on false grounds," often citing illegal possession of drugs and explosives as the reason for arrest (Sept. 2000, section 8.4.1). These same sources asserted that people were arrested "so that they could be made to pay bribes," and that "very few of the accused were convicted in these false charges" (ibid.).

A 29 January 2001 Aberdeen Press & Journal article cited information provided by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, which reported on claims by asylum seekers to that organization that police in Punjab are "heavily involved" in bribery and that Sikhs in particular are subjected to "severe police brutality."

The Danish Immigration Service report carried testimony stating that cases involving human rights violations are usually first reported at the local police station (Sept. 2000, section 8.2). If this is ineffective a civil suit may be brought to the lower (district) court or the High Court, and, failing that, the cases are referred to the National or State Human Rights Commissions (ibid.). For further information on the avenues of recourse available to those who have been wrongly implicated by the Punjab police please refer to IND36072.E of 25 April 2001.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Aberdeen Press & Journal. 29 January 2001. A. Black. "Fugitives From Fear." (NEXIS)

Danish Immigration Service. September 2000. Report on the Fact-Finding Mission to Punjab: The Position of the Sikhs. http://www.udlst.dk/sjle1/punjab00/heldok.html [Accessed 23 Jan. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Country Assessments


US Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 2001.

US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2000.


Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre


World Sikh Organization