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This is a picture of Malkit Singh and his parents Baljinder Kaur and Harjinder Singh. Malkit Singh has recently been released after six long years of being incarcerated in Jammu Prison, hundreds of kilometres away from his loved ones. They are a poor family from Barnala district who simply have a great love for Sikhi. In June 2008, Bhai Malkit Singh along with his two companions Bhai Harbans Singh and Bhai Surjit Singh travelled to Jammu to attend a dharmic (religious) function. Bhai Malkit Singh told his parents that he would be back in two days but his parents were unaware that they would not be able to meet their son freely again.

The day after Bhai Malkit Singh left for Jammu that summer, his parents found out about his arrest through newspapers that neighbours were bringing them to look at. Usually in newspaper reports in India, detainees are recognised by loved ones as their place of residence and familial details are provided rather than photographs. In a recent interview, Mata Ji struggled to explain the shock that she and her husband received from seeing those news reports. They knew that all the reports of arms and explosives found in a vehicle supposedly linked to her son and his two companions were simply untrue. But as poor village residents there was nothing they could do; the damage had been done.

 

After ten tense days, Bhai Malkit Singh’s parents travelled all the way to Jammu on buses and trains which is tiring journey in itself. Then the police officials firstly would not allow them to meet their son and kept delaying the meeting by confusing them as to which jail their son was in as well as verbally abusing them. When they finally met their son, they could not contain their emotions. Bhai Malkit Singh’s health was very bad. His body was completely broken through the ‘roller technique’ which consists of metal and wooden cylindrical devices being placed on the detainee’s body. Groups of officers will then take turns to step on the rollers all over the body to break the muscles of the body. The officers wanted Bhai Malkit Singh, Bhai Surjit Singh and Bhai Harbans Singh to falsely confess that an apparent vehicle full of arms and explosives was of their doing. The psychological trauma of being away from loved ones and tortured is unimaginable.      

 

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