November 20, 2017 | By Parmjeet Singh
Ludhiana/ Chandigarh: Arrested UK citizen Jagtar Singh Jaggi’s lawyer Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur has rejected Punjab police’s claim that Jagtar Singh Jaggi was never tortured in custody. READ FULL STATEMENT by PUNJAB POLICE on JAGTAR SINGH JOHAL case.
The fact is that Jagtar Singh Jaggi’s lawyer Jagpreet Singh Chadda had represented him before the magistrate on Nov. 5. After that the next court appearance was on November 10 but the police presented him before a magistrate in Moga and took his remand for 4 days and he was reproduced in the court on Nov. 14. “There was no legal presentation on behalf of Jagtar Singh Jaggi on Nov. 10 and even we had no legal access to Jagtar Singh Jaggi between Nov. 6 to Nov. 13”, he added.
“On next court appearance on Nov. 14 Jagtar Singh Jaggi told me that he was tortured by the police on Nov. 5, after they took his police remand, and on Nov. 6 and 7”, said Advo. Jaspal Singh Manjhpur.
“Jaggi told me that he was tortured physically and mentally as his legs were forcibly stretched beyond limits and he was given electric shorts on nipples, ears and penis”, Advo. Jaspal Singh Manjhpur maintained, while adding that an application for his independent medical examination was moved before the magistrate on Nov. 14 itself.
Advo. Jaspal Singh Manjhpur said that Jaggi was not tortured in custody afterwards as he was meeting him on daily basis now but he insisted that there was no denying that Jaggi was tortured in custody for 3 days- Nov. 5, 6 and 7 by the Punjab police.
“We were expecting that the court would issue directions for Jaggi’s immediate medical examination by a medical board comprising at least 3 doctors and medical experts, said Advo. Jaspal Singh Manjhpur.
He said that the hearing on application of independent medical examination took place on Nov. 17. The plea for independent medical examination of Jagtar Singh Jaggi by a board comprising at least 3 doctors of medical experts was strongly opposed by the Punjab police.
“Torture is a very serious allegation and this was the case of a foreign citizen being tortured by the Punjab police. If Jaggi was not tortured during custody then why the police opposed the request for his independent medical examination in the court?”, he said, maintaining further that the reason for it was that the examination could have confirmed the fact of torture.
Though we had legal remedy of filing revision of magistrate’s order but it would cause further delay”, he said while adding that any delay in holding medical examination defeats the purpose in case of torture by electric shocks as the signs of torture disappear with the passage of time.
On being asked to comment about serious allegations made by the Punjab police against Jagtar Singh Jaggi saying that the police had plenty of evidence against him, Advo. Jaspal Singh Manjhpur said that those were mere allegations and claims of the police.
“These are mere allegations and there is nothing in it (the statement). Let us not forget that similar allegations were made by the Punjab police about five years ago against another U. K. citizen Jaswant Singh Azad who was arrested and framed under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) in two cases. Even then the police had claimed to have busted a ‘module’ involving so-called international conspiracy but all allegations against him had fell flat during floor test in trial courts and Jaswant Singh Azad was acquitted in both cases in 2016 and 2017”, he added.
He also objected to mainstream Indian media terming the arrested persons as gangsters or even as terrorists. “Media should understand that it is not the judge in any legal case and must not use such terms for any person who could at the most be termed as suspect, that too in the eyes of the police as the eyes of law everyone is innocent unless proved otherwise”, he added.