Campaigners who support the rights of a Scot, British Sikh imprisoned in India are urging the concerned in India and UK to respond and act on the alleged torture allegation made by him after his arrest last year.
Jagtar Singh Johal, a 31-year-old youth from Dumbarton, arrested by Indian police just a few days after his marriage in Jalandhar city, located in India’s Punjab state November 4, last year. The arrest which led to allegations of physical and mental torture in the days that followed.
Johal had reached India to get married. However, soon after his arrest, the prosecutors claim that he funded assassinations on prominent right-wing Hindus, but no evidence has yet been presented in the Indian court after more than 60 court appearances.
The allegations of physical and mental torture made by Johal against Indian police forced his family along with other members of the wider Sikh and Scottish community, to campaign tirelessly to address the allegations properly. Thanks to the campaign, supported Martin Docherty-Hughes and a cross-party group of MPs, the case was raised in a bilateral meeting between the UK prime minister and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in April.
Despite this pressure, the allegations of torture, detailed by the human rights charity REDRESS in a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture – have yet to be addressed.
“Regardless of the accusations against Jagtar his rights to an open and fair judicial process must be protected. But after months of delays and more than 60 pre-trial appearances there has yet to be a single shred of evidence presented against him”, said Martin Docherty-Hughes MP.
“…despite assurances, my constituent and his family have been left frustrated by a lack of interest in Jagtar’s welfare by the UK government and in particular the foreign secretary…. it’s now time for the foreign secretary to listen and show that the UK government is serious about protecting the rights of its citizens abroad,” he added.
Gurpreet Singh Johal, Jagtar’s brother, said, “whilst the physical torture stopped, the mental torture continues to date. The UK government have also failed Jagtar, although they ‘promised extreme action’ if found that a British citizen had been subject to torture and mistreatment.
The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has failed to meet the family. It’s becoming more and more evident that it is ‘trade over human rights’.”