Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari on Thursday strongly criticised Pakistan over the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, saying the latter had been murdered in cold blood in the custody of the Pakistan state, and added that Islamabad must be held accountable for the tragic incident.
"What happened was inhuman, barbaric and that is not the manner in which a civilised state treats prisoners in their custody. The Pakistani establishment must account for his death," Tewari told media here.
Tewari further said the Indian Government had been repeatedly seeking a humanitarian view of Sarabjit Singh's case since 2005, when the Prime Minister of India had first brought it up with the then Pakistan Government.
He also said he hoped that today everyone would rise above political parties and condemn the barbaric death.
Tewari also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of seeking to politicise even something as tragic as the brutal death of an Indian citizen in a foreign country.
"BJP just wants to politicise the issue even at the time of grief," he said.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde met the family members of Sarabjit Singh and assured them that the government would take all necessary steps to bring back his body.
"We are making efforts so that his body is handed over to us as soon as possible. Our foreign ministry is holding talks with the Pakistan Government. And, once the body comes, its funeral will be conducted as per the wishes of his family," Shinde told reporters after meeting Sarbajit's sister Dalbir Kaur and other family members here.
Shinde further said that India had requested Pakistan till the last minute to release Sarabjit Singh.
Shinde said India had raised the issue of Sarabjit with Pakistan in different for a and added that he had himself raised the issue of Sarabjit's release when Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik visited India last year.
Sarabjit had been admitted to the intensive care unit of the government-run Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, where four of his family members - his sister, wife and two daughters - had visited him.
They returned to India yesterday, and roundly condemned the Indian Government for not taking up their cause in right earnest.
Dalbir Kaur even called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resign over the issue. (ANI)