In May 2019 Khalsa Aid Canada will open Lapata. And the Left Behind, an exhibition that showcasing portraits and interviews by distinguished multimedia journalist Abhishek Madhukar, that expose the lingering weight of forced disappearances in India’s north-western state of Panjab.


Panjab, the land of five rivers, best known for being the home of the minority Sikh population with its gleaming history, culture and lifestyle. This exhibition charts the murky truths about those affected by state sponsored disappearances of thousands of young males during a time of direct rule by the central government (1984-1995) which saw an erosion of democratic norms and a struggle for independence.

Young men were arrested indefinitely, and human rights abuses dramatically increased; police and security forces abducted those suspected to be involved in a movement for liberation, often in the presence of witnesses – yet later denied having them in custody. Most are understood to have been killed, but their bodies remain missing with only a small number receiving the ashes of their loved ones.

In 1995, human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra went missing himself after exposing municipal records detailing how as many as 25,000 Sikh youths were secretly cremated after being killed in police custody. As recently as 2017, human rights group, Panjab Advocacy and Documentation Project (PADP) meticulously recorded the names of 8,257 young male Sikhs who had disappeared.

Tragically, in the absence of a formal investigation, the true number of disappeared – the lapata – may never be known.

Press Release: New Vancouver photo exhibition illustrates the impact of decades-old enforced disappearances of Sikhs

Vancouver B.C. Canada, May 3, 2019: An exhibition highlighting the emotional toll of thousands of enforced disappearances in India’s north-western state of Punjab during the 1980s and 90s is making its first stop in Vancouver. Lapata. And the Left Behind. chronicles the stories of Sikh families – many of them still grieving the loss of loved ones, seeking answers and awaiting justice.


Vancouver, Canada – May 2019




San Francisco, U.S.A. – TBA

Our work has been inspired by Jaswant Singh Khalra who worked tirelessly to expose the scale of state sponsored disappearances. Sadly he himself was a direct victim of these acts, but his spirit and passion for justice lives on amongst all of us.
Ravi Singh

CEO, Khalsa Aid International



You can support Khalsa Aid’s work with those affected by giving a donation of any size. Simply click here to find out how.


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Events like this simply wouldn’t be possible without those who can help cover costs. If you are interested in being a sponsor, email

An exhibition sponsored by Khalsa Aid International and Khalsa Aid Canada.

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Website created by Kleos Designs.

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