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Posts Tagged Jagtar Singh Johal

MPs to demand answers from Boris Johnson on torture by Indian police of 30-year old Scot that has the potential to re-set UK-India relations

MPs to demand answers from Boris Johnson on torture by Indian police of 30-year old Scot that has the potential to re-set UK-India relations

London – 19 November 2017

#FreeJaggi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mistreatment and torture by the Indian authorities of 30-year old Scot, Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton is likely to cause a major headache for Boris Johnson and the UK Government this week.

Jagtar abducted by the Indian police more than two weeks ago on 4 November remains in police custody without charge and has alleged third-degree torture.  Remarkably, First Information Report (FIR) 193 that was used to make the initial arrest and now FIR 218 used by Ludhiana police both fail to name Jagtar.

The #FreeJaggi Now campaign within a week has gone global with Sikhs throughout the diaspora raising concerns and gaining support from leading politicians and personalities in the UK, Canada and opposition politicians in Punjab.

Ruling politicians and senior police officers in Punjab under pressure to address unresolved crimes have opted for media hype to try and declare Jagtar guilty by making wild accusations linking him to crimes without producing any evidence that would stand up in court.

On Tuesday Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary will be answering questions for one hour in the House of Commons.  Over 200 MPs have been approached by constituents so he is expected to get a rough ride and will need answers to satisfy their concerns.

Bhai Narinderjit Singh, the General Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“Following the letter writing to MPs last week we have organised a mass lobby in Parliament for Tuesday and constituents will be demanding answers from their MPs on actions taken by the Foreign Office.  They will want to know how much pressure has been put on India to assist in securing the release of the British national.”

“Specifically what steps have been taken to ensure Jagtar has had free access to discuss his situation with British High Commission staff without the presence of police officers that have been responsible for his torture.”

“Given the allegations of third-degree torture that the Foreign Office has stated it takes very seriously MPs will also want to know what efforts have been made by the British authorities to secure an independent medical examination to confirm the severity of his torture.”

“Unless Jagtar is immediately returned to the UK we will ensure this becomes a watershed case that will call into question the entire relationship of Britain with India going forward.  Both countries have much to lose as we will make sure MPs on all sides expose the atrocities in India..”   

It is widely known that for far too long Britain’s chequered colonial past in the Indian sub-continent and trade between Britain and India has been knowingly used by the Indian authorities to avoid virtually all public criticism by the UK Government of widespread human rights violations targeting minorities in India.  

When it comes to India, Britain must strike the right balance between promoting British trade and other interests abroad and human rights.  This case is too close to home and high profile that it may break the camel’s back unless India can be persuaded to immediately return Jagtar to the UK and allow the UK authorities to investigate if any crime has been committed.

The twists and turns in the last 72 hours in India against a law-abiding British citizen beggar believe for those closely observing the situation and complicated what Boris Johnson will have to say.

On Friday afternoon the decision to take Jagtar out of police custody and enter judicial custody until 30 November came as a huge sigh of relief for his family, lawyers, Sikhs across the globe and the UK authorities. 

Many knew judicial custody would bring an end to his physical torture at the hands of the police, although the mental torture of being held in prison without charge would continue along with trial by media statements preventing any possibility of a fair trial.

However, the relief was short-lived as a further twist came on Friday evening when the police visited a magistrate at home in a different district and persuaded him to allow them to keep Jagtar in police custody for a further two days by introducing an additional case. 

This morning to Jagtar’s dismay the police custody was extended by another five days.  The threat of brutal police torture, therefore, remains high and hanging over Jagtar’s head.

There are concerns that the police will continue to extend remand and add false and previously decided additional cases that make no sense to prolong Jagtar’s detention.

For the first ten days, Jagtar had no access to his lawyers, his family or a representative from the British High Commission.  As soon as he met his lawyer he gave details of how his legs were forcibly stretched beyond limits and electric shocks had been applied to his nipples, ears and private parts.

On Friday Jagtar Singh was not allowed by the police to have the business cards for his lawyers and the British High Commission as they clearly had other plans for him.  Today the police objected to his lawyer having access for one hour a day to meet Jagtar, although thankfully the magistrate dismissed the police objections given the high profile nature of this case.   

On Tuesday Boris Johnson cannot afford another botched case like Zaghari-Radcliffe and will need to have something positive to say regarding the return of Jagtar to the UK.

 
 

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

 
www.sikhfeduk.com |sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk | facebook.com/Sikh Federation UK | twitter @Sikhfeduk

 

 

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