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India demands immediate release of Sarabjit Singh on humanitarian grounds

Source : ANI
Last Updated: Wed, May 01, 2013 11:50 hrs

India on Wednesday demanded that Pakistan immediately release comatose prisoner Sarabjit Singh on humanitarian and sympathetic grounds, so that he could benefit from the best available treatment in India.

Responding to a question on Sarabjit Singh, the spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin said: "We are concerned at the condition of Shri Sarabjit Singh indicated by reports made available by doctors treating him in Jinnah Hospital (in Lahore).

Our High Commissioner has met the Pakistan Foreign Secretary and urged the Government of Pakistan to immediately release Shri Sarabjit Singh on humanitarian and sympathetic grounds so that he can benefit from the best available treatment in India.

Alternatively, we have also proposed that Shri Sarabjit Singh should be sent to a third country for proper medical treatment.

This is not the time for invoking legal and bureaucratic reasons for not taking the right steps to save a human life. We believe that every endeavour should be made to save his life.".

The spokesman's statement came hours after distraught members of Sarabjit Singh said that they would be on a hunger strike till the Indian Government took steps to get him out of Pakistan.

In an emotionally charged speech at the Attari-Wagah border, Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit's sister, lashed out at the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre for its inaction on the issue and demanded Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's resignation, as he had not done enough for her brother.

"First of all, I would ask Manmohan Singh to resign immediately because you could not save your own citizen from Pakistan. Zardari came here and took away Chishti. You released all their prisoners. But you could not save Sarabjit," she told mediapersons here.

Kaur said she was 'very disappointed' with the Indian Government because it did not take firm steps to help Sarabjit.

"I am extremely disappointed with the Indian Government for it did not take firm steps till date," she said.

She also claimed there is connivance between the Indian and Pakistani Governments on the issue.

Kaur said that Sarabjit could still be revived.

"What kind of investigation is Pakistan conducting? It's a shame," she said.

Kaur said that she would meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in New Delhi later this week to discuss her brother's case.

"I would also like to tell the Prime Minister that Sarabjit is still alive and wants to live, but I suspect Pakistan's treatment and its motive," she said.

Kaur demanded that Indian doctors should be called in to assist in Sarabjit's treatment.

Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur and his sister crossed over into India from Lahore through land border today.

The family had gone to Pakistan on a 15-day visa on Sunday after they were granted emergency visas.

The condition of Sarbajit Singh, who is in a special intensive care unit of the state-run Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, had further deteriorated on Tuesday night.

Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday afternoon. He was hit on the head with bricks and his neck and torso cut with sharp weapons.

Sarabjit's sister, his wife and two daughters had gone to Pakistan on Sunday.

India had earlier asked Pakistan to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view of Sarabjit's case and release him.

"In view of the recent tragic events and present circumstances, we once again appeal to the Government of Pakistan to take a sympathetic and humanitarian view of this case, and release Sarabjit Singh," said a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA).

The Prime Minister had earlier termed the assault on Sarabjit inside the jail as a ''very sad'' incident.

"It is very sad. I think in the jail, I think some inmates attacked him. I think that is very sad," Dr. Singh said.

Sarabjit Singh, the Indian national on death row in Pakistan, was attacked inside Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail when he and other prisoners were brought out of their cells for an hour-long break.

Two prisoners assaulted Sarabjit with blunt objects and he sustained a severe head injury.

Sarabjit Singh was arrested in Pakistan in 1991 and sentenced to death on charges of spying and carrying out four bomb blasts that killed 14 people.

However, his family contends he is innocent and a victim of wrong identity who crossed into Pakistan in 1990 in an inebriated state. (ANI)




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