November 18, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ontario, Canada: Canadian politicians have jointed concerns over reports of torture of arrested UK citizen Jagtar Singh Johal aka Jaggi by Punjab police in India. Cross party Canadian politicians, including Sikhs and non-Sikhs, have raised their concerns urging Canadian authorities to use diplomatic relations with Indian state and ensure that Jaggi is not tortured in custody.
Jagtar Singh Jaggi was picked up by Baghapurana police from Rama Mandi in Jalandhar on November 4. On November 14 Jaggi told his counsel that he was tortured in custody by the police. Since then concerns have grown over his detention in the custody of Punjab police.
On November 17 Cheryl Hardcastle raised her concerns about reports of torture of Jagtar Singh Jaggi and shared a copy of letter she wrote to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chrystia Freeland requesting that the Canadian government help uphold the basic human rights. She said that Freeland should help her UK counterparts to ensure due process is followed in Jagtar Singh Jaggi’s case. “The government needs to make it abundantly clear that it rejects all forms of torture and call on their international partners to prevent and punish the crimes of torture”, she added.
“It is our understanding that Hon. Minister Navdeep Bains is currently in India and could offer his assistance on the ground”, Cheryl Hardcastle wrote in her letter to Chrystia Freeland.
Canada’s New Democrats have joined parliamentarians across the globe in voicing our concerns regarding allegations of torture experienced by Jagtar Johal. Here is our letter calling on MIN Freeland to offer Canada’s support to our counterparts in the UK, immediately. pic.twitter.com/CvqKVz43Sx
— Cheryl Hardcastle (@CHardcastleNDP) November 16, 2017
Jagtar Singh Jaggi’s local MP Martin Docherty acknowledged Cheryl Hardcastle’s efforts. He tweeted:-
@CHardcastleNDP your support is much appreciated by all in #Scotland
— Martin Docherty (@MartinJDocherty) November 17, 2017
Labour Party MP and Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, who was arrested in India in 1990s but was later found innocent, also expressed his sympathy for Jagtar Singh Johal.
From my own experience, everyone should have access to human rights and a fair trial. I have great sympathy for Jagtar Singh Johal.
— Amarjeet Sohi (@SohiAmarjeet) November 17, 2017
“I echo my colleague’s comments and am greatly concerned about these reports. Human Rights need to be respected”, said Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Defence Minister.
I echo my colleague’s comments and am greatly concerned about these reports. Human Rights need to be respected. https://t.co/6vmSboFv8O
— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) November 17, 2017
Amarjeet Sohi’s concerns were also shared by British politician Tom Watson, who tweeted: –
British citizen, arrested in India, denied medical examination, concerns of torture whilst in police custody. His case is gaining support from elected representatives around the world. https://t.co/CMdcBfJBli
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) November 18, 2017
An Official Statement issued by New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada reads as follows:
NDP WRITES TO FREELAND ON MATTER OF JAGTAR SINGH JOHAL AND ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE
OTTAWA— NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor — Tecumseh) has asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, to look into the matter of Jagtar Singh Johal and offer immediate support to her counterparts in the UK. Mr. Johal was allegedly forcibly abducted by members of the Punjab Police in India. The letter comes after Members of Parliament in both the United Kingdom and Punjab Legislative Assembly highlighted allegations of torture by Mr. Johal’s legal team.
“I respectfully request that your government help to uphold basic human rights and help your UK counterparts to ensure due process is followed.” said Hardcastle. “We hope that Jagtar Singh
Johal is granted a fair trial, is allowed access to an independent medical examiner as requested by his legal team, and is not subjected to any further torture while in custody of Punjab Police.”
NDP Leader, Jagmeet Singh, emphasized that the respect of human rights is fundamental to all New Democrats and Canadians.
“Even the allegation of torture should rattle a lover of democracy and human rights to their innermost core,” said Singh on Twitter, adding “That is why reports of torture including electrocution of Jagtar Singh Johal by Indian Authorities is deeply chilling & requires immediate attention.”
Jagtar Singh Jaggi is in the custody of Ludhiana police now. Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, who met Jagtar Singh Jaggi on Saturday (Nov. 18) for around 15 minutes said that Jaggi was not physically tortured by the police in past few days. He further informed that Jaggi will be reproduced before a magistrate in Ludhiana on Sunday as his remand expires on Nov. 19.
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Related Topics: Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi (UK), Jaspal Singh Manjhpur (Advocate), NDP, Preet Kaur Gill, Punjab Police, Punjab Politics, Sikh Diaspora, Sikh News Canada, Sikh News UK, Sikh Political Prisoners, Sikhs in Canada, Sikhs in United Kingdom, Tom Watson