LONDON: A campaign to get a Sikh Jagtar Singh Johal released from India has geared up in the UK urging Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to meet the family of the Scottish Sikh who is being held in India. Indian authorities allege Mr Johal, who was born and brought up in Glasgow, was involved in financing the killing of Hindu leaders.
His brother Gurpreet Singh addressed a press conference today (Tuesday-November 27) to mark the 100 days of the campaign launched for his release. He accused UK Government of adopting double standard and absolute discrimination in Johal case.
Johal case was raised at the Home Affairs Committee of the Parliament in London and also at the Commons as well on Monday (26th November). Foreign Office Minister Mark Field, who is responsible for Asian Affairs, said he would personally ask his boss to step in on the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.
The case was raised by SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who led an adjournment debate on his constituent’s arrest, detention and alleged torture by the Indian authorities. He said he had been raising the case in Parliament for a year, but the Foreign Secretary was yet to meet the Singh Johal family.
He said: “When is the Foreign Secretary going to meet me and the family? “These allegations of mental and physical torture, threats of violence against family members, simulated execution and forced confessions were horrifying enough when I first raised them a year ago.
Mr Field explained his own frustration at the length of time negotiations were taking and pledged to get Mr Hunt involved. “It has got harder as the year has gone on, and the longer it takes for the authorities of the Republic of India to address the issue the possibility of torture recurring cannot be ruled out.”
He said: “These things do often take time and the Indian legal process can be slow, as indeed can ours… Sometimes one has to wait for a considerable length of time to get a response. “I know that is incredibly frustrating, and particularly when there are allegations of maltreatment and torture that becomes an even more serious state of affairs.