India

Prisoner Sarabjit’s Murder Evokes Strong Reactions in India

S M Fasiullah for BeyondHeadlines

Sarabjit Singh, an Indian national, convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province of Pakistan that killed 14 people in 1990, died of cardiac arrest on Thursday.

Sarabjit was attacked in the jail by 6 prisoners on 26th April in the Pakistan jail and was transfered Lahore hospital for treatment. After being comatose for nearly a week, he succumbed to the injuries.

Various political leaders, social activists and civil society have expressed deep regrets over Singh’s death.

Prisoner Sarabjit’s Murder Evokes Strong Reactions in India (Photo Courtesy: HT)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was “deeply saddened” at the death of Sarabjit, while External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid expressed apprehension that the relationship between two countries “has been hurt by this terrible tragedy.”

Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said: “It was the responsibility of Pakistan to ensure his safety in their jail and they have failed at it. We should not be blamed for it.”

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and BJP MP, Sushma Swaraj called it “a cold blooded murder”. “This is not the way civilized nations behave,” she expressed on Twitter.

IPS and former Tihar Jail IG Kiran Bedi raised serious questions following news of death of Sarabjit. She said the death was “preventable”.

“Need to find out if r Counsulate in Lahore was regularly visiting him? Indian Consulate must answer*when did they last visit Sarabjit Singh*what did he tell them*if complained what did they do,” Ms Bedi questioned on Twitter.

Rights activist Kavita Krishnan said: “With Sarabjit, also recall Quateel Siddiqui, blast accused killed by prisoners in Yerawda jail Pune 8 June 2012.”

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navi Pillay, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Prof. Juan Mandez, and UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Prof. Christop Heyns to intervene with the Pakistani government to ensure a credible inquiry for establishing justice into the murder of Sarabjit.

“Since Mr Sarabjit Singh was in the custody of the Government of Pakistan, the responsibility to ensure his personal safety and security irrespective of his status as a convict was with the Government of Pakistan,” stated ACHR Director Mr Suhas Chakma.

“The murderous assault on Mr Singh in one of the most high security prisons could not have taken place without complicity of the prison officials with implicit instructions from the higher authorities.”

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