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Singh v. Gonzalez

May 5, 2005

KULVIER SINGH, PETITIONER
v.
ALBERTO R. GONZALEZ*, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, RESPONDENT



On Petition for Review of a Final Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (No. A78-513-784)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambro, Circuit Judge

PRECEDENTIAL

* Substituted pursuant to Rule 43c, F.R.A.P.

Argued October 26, 2004

Before: NYGAARD, AMBRO, and VAN ANTWERPEN, Circuit Judges

OPINION OF THE COURT

Kulvier Singh petitions for review of the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") denying his application for asylum and withholding of removal because Singh had not demonstrated that he was persecuted, or had a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of a ground enumerated in the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). That order reversed the decision of the Immigration Judge ("IJ"). We grant the petition.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History

Singh, a native and citizen of India, arrived in the United States on February 23, 2001, when he was fifteen years old. Singh was born in the state of Punjab, and he and his parents are religious Sikhs. *fn1 He testified that he came to the United States because the Indian police were "after" him and his father and were attempting to kill them because of his father's activities in working for Khalistan, a putative independent state for Sikhs. Singh and his father were members of Shirdarval Sahib, one of two groups under the Akali Dal, a political party in Punjab. The leader of the Akali Dal told his followers that Khalistan would be an independent state where Sikhs would "get their rights."

Beginning when Singh was ten years old, the police often came to his home and took his father away for questioning. In October 2000, the police came to Singh's house while he was sleeping, began beating Singh's father, and then took Singh and his father to a police station. While at the house, the police told Singh's father that he had arms and ammunition in the house, which Singh's father denied. *fn2 The police also searched the house.

The police kicked Singh and his father while transporting them to the police station. When they arrived at the station, Singh was pushed into a corner and watched while his father was stripped naked and beaten by the police. Singh began to scream, at which point the police began to beat him also. Singh believed that his father was beaten for half an hour or an hour and that he himself was beaten for ten to fifteen minutes—to the point of losing consciousness. While the police were beating the father, they talked about his work for Khalistan, which Singh understood as the officers' way of telling his father "we have told you so many times not to work for Khalistan. Now, by beating this way, we are going to tell you that, how to ask for Khalistan."

Later, the police told Singh and his father that a leader of their village and others had come to get them out, and the police let them go. Before their release, the police inspector reiterated that Singh's father had been told many times not to work for Khalistan's sovereignty and had not listened even though the police had beat him. The inspector then threatened that, if Singh's father kept engaging in these political activities, the police would kill Singh. Singh and his father could not walk when they were released, and they were taken to a dispensary where they were given medication.

After Singh returned from the hospital six or seven days later, his parents sent him to his uncle's house, where he stayed for about a month. Singh's uncle told Singh that his father had been taken away again by the police because a dead body was found near their family's lands and that the police used this event as an excuse to take his father. He also told Singh that the police made Singh's mother give them the names and addresses of all their relatives so that the officers could look for Singh.

A different uncle then took Singh in, but the police found him there. When Singh's uncle saw the police coming, he took Singh to hide for a few hours at a neighbor's house. Singh's uncle reported that the police said they would kill Singh if they found him. Singh's uncle and grandfather then made arrangements for Singh to come to the United States. Singh testified that he is afraid that, if he is sent back, the police "will get [him] at the airport because they will check ...


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