December 4, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: In a press release issued on Sunday (Nov. 3), the Sikh Federation UK said: “Theresa May and Boris Johnson are coming under intense pressure to take a tough stand against India for the blatant disregard of the human rights of Jagtar Singh Jaggi, a 30 year old Scot from Dumbarton”. The UK based Sikh group maintained that he has been falsely imprisoned in India for the last 28 days.
“Four weeks after his abduction by plain clothes police Jagtar remains in police custody without charge and no evidence whatsoever has been produced of any illegal activity in his nine court appearances to date. He has only been allowed to speak once in court when he stated he was innocent and wanted a private meeting with British consular staff”, the release reads further (copy available with SSN).
The release issued by Sikh Federation UK’s Press Secretary Gurjeet Singh further reads: “When he first briefly met his lawyer in the courtroom on 14 November he immediately made allegations of third degree torture, including leg separation and electric shocks to his nipples, ears and private parts. He subsequently told his lawyer he has been forced to sign blank papers during his torture”.
“Two weeks ago Theresa May showed her personal interest in the case when she told the BBC she was concerned with the allegations of torture and the UK Government would take action”, said Gurjeet Singh, adding that “[t]he next day during Foreign Office questions in the Commons the SNP’s Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, raised his constituent’s case, and asked Boris Johnson what discussions he had with the Indian government about their human rights record in Punjab and accusations of torture in relation to his constituent, Jagtar Singh Johal”.
Foreign Minister, Rory Stewart responded and stated the case was being taken very seriously. He told MPs: “We take any allegation of torture very seriously. It is completely unconstitutional – it is offensive to the British government – and we will work very closely to investigate and of course will take extreme action if a British citizen is being tortured.”
“The #FreeJaggiNow campaign has launched the next phase of the campaign and hundreds of MPs are expected to receive letters from constituents in the next few days pointing out the British authorities have been repeatedly prevented by the Indian authorities from obtaining private access to their citizen who has alleged he has been tortured”.
Bhai Narinderjit Singh, the General Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“Judging by their actions the Indian authorities clearly have much to hide.”
“It is unacceptable the police are denying British consular staff, including the Deputy High Commissioner having private and unfettered access to their citizen despite an order of the court.”
“Lawyers for the 30 year old Scot petitioned the lower courts for an independent medical assessment to confirm whether or not Jagtar has been tortured, but this has been turned down.”
“We have learnt the petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court requesting an independent medical assessment has been listed to be heard by the court in March 2018. This is outrageous and could only happen in the Indian judicial system that is proving to be a complete farce.”
“The police and the judiciary are helping India cover up its torture of a British citizen. We are confident MPs will demand tough action from Theresa May.”
The Sikh body said that Jagtar Singh has been denied access to privately meet his lawyers or British consular staff for four weeks despite the personal intervention of Boris Johnson who is understood to have spoken to his counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
The circumstantial evidence and the well documented practice of Indian police to systematically use torture during interrogation to secure confessions strongly suggests Jagtar Singh has been subject to third degree torture, the Sikh group maintained.
“Last week she regrettably passed away and on the day of the funeral the police shamefully ransacked the family home where she lived looking for evidence or more likely wanting to try and plant incriminating evidence. The flagrant abuse of power and heavy handedness of the police is adding insult to injury”, reads the statement.
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