Jammu/New Delhi: Sanaullah Ranjay, a Pakistani lodged in Jammu's Kot Bhalwal Jail, was critically injured after being attacked by an Indian prisoner Friday. Pakistan demanded his immediate release and repatriation.
A day after India's Sarabjit Singh succumbed to grievous injuries sustained in a murderous assault on him in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail, Sanaullah was attacked in the morning following an altercation.
Sanaullah, a resident of Sialkot, was attacked by a former Indian soldier convicted for murder.
He received serious head injuries and was first rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu, where doctors said he had slipped into a coma, much like Sarabjit, who was attacked in a Lahore jail on April 26 and died Thursday.
The Pakistani was later flown to Chandigarh in an air ambulance and admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Friday evening, hospital sources said.
"He has been admitted to the ICU. His condition is critical," a PGIMER source said.
Police said Sanaullah was being tried for murder since the late 1990s for carrying out acts of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the attack took place around 8-8.30 a.m. and that a probe has been ordered.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in a tweet that Sanaullah's condition was "stable but he remains under medical watch".
Later, he tweeted again that India has granted permission to three Pakistani officials for consular access to Sanaullah Ranjay in a Chandigarh hospital.
India said the guilty would be punished and called the attack on Sanaullah "regrettable".
The external affairs ministry also proposed a meeting of concerned authorities from both countries to identify measures to "avoid such tragic incidents".
"We are aware of the regrettable incident involving a Pakistani prisoner, who was injured today (Friday) during an altercation with another inmate of a jail in Jammu," the ministry said in a statement.
"The matter is being investigated and the guilty will be punished."
The ministry said an advisory has been issued to strengthen security for Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails.
"Safety and security of prisoners in custody lies with the jail authorities and necessary action is being taken," the statement added.
"The injured is receiving medical treatment, and once the medical arrangements are in place, consular access will be provided."
According to a statement, there are 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen, in Pakistani jails and 272 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails.
The Pakistan high commission in India asked for repatriation of the prisoner for medical treatment and on humanitarian grounds.
It also asked for evacuation of Sanaullah by an air ambulance, including assistance in ground facilitation.
"Pakistan High Commission has asked for detailed information of the incident, immediate consular access, medical facilities for the victim and security of inmates (other Pakistani prisoners)," the mission said.
New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah said the case was different from Pakistan and the attacked prisoner would be taken care of.
"Unlike Pakistan, here at least there will be an inquiry and we will know what happened," said Abdullah, a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.
Sarabjit Singh, who had spent over 20 years in jail in Pakistan, died Thursday in a Lahore hospital. He had been on death row after being convicted as a terrorist.
His body was cremated in his hometown Bhikhiwind in Punjab's frontier Tarn Taran district Friday.