Sarabjit continues to be in coma, family gets visa to visit Pakistan

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 27, 2013 13:45 hrs

Amritsar: Four members of Sarabjit Singh's family have been granted visa by the Pakistan high commission to meet the Indian prisoner who is in "deep coma" and put on ventilator support after being assaulted by jail inmates in Lahore.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur on Saturday said that the high commission in Delhi has issued visa to the family and she along with his daughters Poonam, Swapandeep Kaur and the prisoner's wife Sukhpreet Kaur would be travelling to Lahore.

However, she did not say when they will leave for Pakistan.

Besides visa to four family members, she said government officials have informed her that Pakistan government has allowed one family member to stay in the Lahore hospital where Sarabjit, whose condition continues to be critical, is under treatment.

On Friday night, Dalbir Kaur had made a strong appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur to do the needful to arrange the visa for Pakistan so that the family could visit Sarabjit, who is on death row in Kot Lakhpat jail.

Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province in Pakistan, that killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

His family says he is a victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border.

PM 'sad'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the murderous attack on Indian death row prisoner in Pakistan Sarabjit Singh was "very sad".

"Yes, it is very sad, some inmates attacked him in jail. I think that is a very sad development," Manmohan Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan here.

Medical board

Earlier, the police in Lahore have registered a case of attempt to murder against two prisoners, Aamir and Mudassar, who viciously attacked him, a media report said.

Officials of the Indian high commission arrived in Lahore to know about Sarabjit's condition.

Sarabjit Singh has been on death row in Pakistan since 1990 after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan, which left 14 people dead.

Sarabjit's family claims he is innocent, having inadvertently crossed into Pakistan in August 1990 in an inebriated state, only to be arrested there. Police in Pakistan however claim that Sarabjit Singh, known as Manjit Singh, was involved in terrorist strikes.

In Sarabjit's hometown Bhikiwind, and in Amritsar and Patiala, people have been gathering to protest the vicious attack.

The assault on Sarabjit Singh comes a few months after the death of Indian prisoner Chamel Singh in the same Kot Lakhpat jail, after he was allegedly assaulted by jail staff.

Chamel Singh, in his 60s, was serving a five-year term for espionage and died at the Jinnah Hospital on Jan 15.

During an autopsy done on March 13 — nearly two months after his death — marks of injury had reportedly been found on the body.

The body of Chamel Singh was returned by Pakistan last month.

His family alleged he was killed in the prison, but no probe was carried out by Pakistani authorities.

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