Family says attack on Sarabjit a conspiracy to eliminate him

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 27, 2013 05:39 hrs

Chandigarh: Worried family members of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian prisoner on death row in Lahore's KotLakhpat Jail, have said that Friday afternoon's attack on him was a conspiracy to eliminate and kill him.

Accusing the Indian Ggovernment of doing nothing to ensure Sarabjit's safety in the Pakistan prison despite all signs of a threat to his life, his sister, Dalbir Kaur, was quoted by media, as saying: "No one listened to my pleas about his life being in danger, and today, my worst fears have come true. It's a conspiracy to eliminate him. I want to go to Pakistan immediately."

Kaur said she had approached almost every senior minister and opposition leaders in Delhi to apprise them of the threat to her brother's life in the Lahore jail, but no one took her seriously.

She said jail inmates used to taunt Sarabjit saying: "Our Afzal (Guru) has been killed, and you are living here comfortably."

Sarabjit Singh sustained serious head injuries when he was attacked by other inmates in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday afternoon.

He was shifted to Jinnah Hospital where he is said to have regained consciousness around 8 p.m. local time, but a late night report in The Express Tribune said he had slipped into a coma and is on ventilator support.

Jail official Munawar Ali said Singh was attacked by two death-row prisoners while they were having tea.

Apparently, an argument ensued after which the other two prisoners attacked Sarabjit Singh with bricks and blades.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad has sent two officials to Lahore to provide him consular access.

The two officials are expected to reach Lahore soon.

The mission has also been informed that Singh's condition was serious, but doctors were working round the clock to save him.

In a letter to his family in August 2012, Sarabjit had expressed fears that he could be poisoned in jail.

Sukhpreet Kaur, Sarabjit's wife, said, "Where should I go now, whom should I approach? I have knocked at every door to plead for my husband's safety, but nothing has happened. Our worst fears have come true."

"Please save my papa. I want to see him. I was expecting that he would be back with us soon, but this news has shattered me," said a sobbing Poonam, Sarabjit's daughter.

Former Pakistan Cabinet Minister and human rights activist Ansar Burney said the attack on Sarabjit appeared to be pre-planned, and appealed to the Pakistan Government to issue visas to Sarabjit's family to enable them to visit Lahore.

"I don't think it was any spontaneous act, but a planned attempt to kill Sarabjit. The security in a death cell is unprecedented and no one can dare to smuggle anything in. The government should conduct a probe into the incident," he said.

Sarabjit had strayed into Pakistan in 1990 in an inebriated condition and was arrested on spying charges. He has been accused of perpetrating bomb blasts in Lahore in the early 1990s that killed and injured many people.

Sarabjit Singh is the second Indian prisoner to be attacked in Kot Lakhpat Jail this year.

On January 15, Chamel Singh - a native of Jammu - succumbed to injuries sustained under mysterious circumstances within the prison premises. (ANI)

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