As allegations of British national Jagtar Singh Johal being tortured by Punjab Police reached the British Parliament, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday dismissed as “baseless” the charge that Johal alias Jaggi was being tortured in custody.
The chief minister’s remarks came a day after UK government said it would take “extreme action” if any British citizen was being “tortured”. On Wednesday, Amarinder said that due process of the law was being followed in the case of Johal, who is an accused in the cases of targeted killings in Punjab.
In a radio interview, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday had said,“I am aware about the concerns expressed about Jagtar Singh Johal. Representatives from foreign office met with him and are obviously pursuing the case and watching what is happening with concerned and will take take action necessary.”
British MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who has been campaigning for Johal’s release, also raised the matter in House of Commons on Tuesday. “I want if foreign secretary can tell us about discussion with India regarding human rights record in state of Punjab critically related to my constituent Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been in custody since November 4 without charge. PM Theresa May indicated personal interest in the issue while speaking in a radio programme,” he said.
Replying for the government, Rory Stewart, Minister of State for Department for International Development and Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said, “We have been taking it very seriously. British High Commission managed to have access and we now have a meeting with the constituents. We take any allegation of torture very seriously. As indeed with the Indian government, this is completely unconstitutional and offensive to the British government and we will work very closely to investigate and, off course, we will take extreme action if a British national is tortured.”
In Chandigarh, Amarinder said that “the accused was not tortured” in custody, adding that “after his arrest, the accused was produced before the court and remanded to police custody…” The chief minister said that Johal was also provided consular access and “the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was involved in the investigation as this conspiracy has international links”.
British High Commission in Delhi has demanded private access to Jagtar Singh Johal for Thursday, November 23, and confirmed that its representatives will be in court on Friday.
Punjab Police had earlier claimed that it had “sufficient” evidence to prove the complicity of Johal in the targeted killings. It had also claimed to have found him to be involved in conspiracy, coordination, funding and arranging of weapons for members of the KLF module busted in connections with the targeted killings.
20 Feb 2020
21 Feb 2020