November 21, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: The UK government on Tuesday said that it would take “extreme action” if any British citizen is being tortured as the case of Jagtar Singh Johal, arrested by Punjab police, was raised in the House of Commons.
Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, a U. K. citizen, has been in the custody of the Punjab police since his arrest from Jalandhar on November 4.
Jagtar Singh Johal’s local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes of the Scottish National Party (SNP) asked the UK foreign office what representations were being made to the Indian government on reports of his alleged “torture” in custody.
“We take any allegation of torture very seriously, as indeed would the Indian government,” foreign office minister Rory Stewart told Docherty-Hughes.
“It is completely unconstitutional, it is offensive to the British government and we will work very closely to investigate and, of course, we will take extreme action if a British citizen is being tortured,” he said.
The minister of state in the foreign office stressed that the issue was being taken “very seriously” and that the deputy high commissioner of the UK had managed to gain access to hold a meeting with Jagtar Singh Johal.
The issue was raised in the parliament a day after British Prime Minister Theresa May was confronted by the BBC’s Asian Network to comment on Jagtar Singh Johal’s arrest in India.
“I am aware of the concern that has been expressed about Jagtar Singh Johal. Representatives from the foreign office have met with him and are pursuing the case, watching what is happening with concern and will take necessary action ,” she said.
Johal’s MP, Docherty-Hughes, has been campaigning for his freedom and has also written to Downing Street seeking a meeting for his UK-based family with the Prime Minister.
The Scottish-born Sikh was in Jalandhar with his family for his wedding last month when he was reportedly arrested by plainclothes police officials in the city.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs, led by Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, had earlier written to UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson urging him to protect Johal’s rights as a British citizen.
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