UK Set To Protest Visit Of PM Modi In April In Support of Jaggi Johal

By 29th March 2018 0 Comments

Worth a listen to the BBC News Punjabi interview with Virendra Sharma MP
1) He is careful what he says on the restrictions by Gurdwara Management Committees on Indian government officials. His language clearly shows he is not happy with this move and wrongly suggests in his view the Sikh community is not in favour.
2) The concerns raised by the Deputy British High Commissioner in writing with the Director General of Police on 14 December are totally inconsistent with this interview. Namely, the official UK Government position is:
a) No chance of a fair trial with the release of video tapes to the Indian media of the interrogation by the Punjab police
b) Torture of Jagtar Singh Johal and the absence of any independent medical examinations
c) Lack of private access for consular staff and lawyers to Jagtar Singh Johal (at that time)
3) Southall residents should ask Virendra Sharma to put in writing the range of issues he supposedly raised in a meeting with Sushma Swaraj and her response
The situation of British Sikh, Jagtar Singh Johal in India has been headlining news for over 2 months now. In this video we hear the views of Virsa Singh Valtoha, a memeber of the Shiromani Akali Dal party, over the treatment of Mr Johal. We hear Mr Valtoha talking about the alleged torture of Mr Johal and how this is not a new procedure implemented by Punjab Police.

This method is the preferred choice when it comes to questioning Sikh youths. Mr Valtoha says the severity of the torture makes the victim want to be dead rather than suffer any more and the culprits will make them suffer for as long as possible. Also, the 59 days spent in police remand is unprecedented and exceeds practicality. The NIA, who took over the cases claim they have evidence and yet present nothing in discovery. The purpose of lengthy remands is to further investigate and implies they have no evidence whatsoever. It will also come as no surprise if they seek more remand at a later date.

At his 20th court appearance, Jagtar Singh was sent into judicial custody at Nabha Maximum Security Jail in Punjab after 59 days in police custody. However, he has still not been charged and no evidence was presented against him. Jagtar Singh continues to be denied private consular access and he has still not had an independent medical examination to investigate his torture.

Watch Martin Docherty-Hughes, the MP for Jagtar Singh Johal raise his case again today (9 January) in Foreign Office questions.

Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire) (SNP)
Given that the Republic of India, a Commonwealth member, has now held my constituent from Dumbarton, Jagtar Singh Johal, in custody without charge for two months, will the Minister tell the House whether the Government’s approach to large Commonwealth states is nothing short of a Faustian pact in which we sacrifice our defense of due process to arbitrary detention on the altar of free-marketeerism?

Mark Field
I really do not think that that is the case at all. The hon. Gentleman has been a steadfast constituency MP on this particular matter. Members might not know that he and I have met in the House of Commons, and I very much respect the way in which he has worked hard on behalf of the Johal family. Mr Johal’s brother is also one of his constituents. I recognise that this is a difficult and distressing time for Mr Johal and his family. Consular staff have visited him on a number of occasions, most recently on 28 December, and I can confirm that there will be a further visit this Thursday, 11 January. I will continue to meet members of the family and the hon. Gentleman, having done so at the end of November, and we are keeping him informed at every stage.

UK Government set to raise case of tortured 31-year old Scot in Indian jail being held with out charge with Indian PM

London : Sikhs are expected to turn out in their thousands when the 53 Heads of Government gather at the QEII Centre in London in mid-April for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The primary focus of Sikhs protesting will be the Indian PM, Narendra Modi, but they will also be there to show support for the Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau for standing up for the rights of Sikh nationalists when he recently visited India.

The Sikhs will not be protesting alone with many other minorities prosecuted in India joining hands in a show of unity in opposing the policies of the extreme Hindu right wing governing India and wanting to turn it into an exclusively Hindu state.

In the run up to CHOGM Parliamentary pressure has been created in the UK and several other Commonwealth countries urging heads of state to take up the treatment of minorities in India.

Another issue that refuses to go away for Narendra Modi is the abduction and torture of Jagtar Singh Johal, the 31-year old Scot from Dumbarton who went to India to get married.

By the time Narendra Modi arrives Jagtar would have been held in jail for more than 160 days without charge.

Many UK politicians are furious that the Indian authorities have to date refused to grant private access for Jagtar to meet British consular staff given his constant allegations of torture and mistreatment when in police custody.

Despite repeated requests Jagtar has been denied an independent medical examination confirming suspicions of torture.

The latest setback came a few days ago following a petition for an independent medical examination in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that was lodged nearly four months ago.

At the court hearing on 22 March the high court appallingly decided to delay the decision of whether or not to grant an independent medical examination by another four months until 23 July.

This latest ridiculous decision would not have been lost on UK politicians and the government who have already complained to the Indian authorities about Jagtar facing trial by media with the unprecedented release of confidential police interrogation videos.

UK Foreign Office officials have made clear to the Indian authorities that if Jagtar is charged he will not get a fair trial.
There has been pressure for the Foreign Secretary to meet Jagtar’s family, who are concerned with the inability of the UK government to make any headway with the Indian authorities.
Earlier this week Eddie Hughes, a Conservative MP representing Walsall North met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who stated:

“I want to stress that we in the UK Government are doing everything we can to ensure that Mr. Johal has access to justice; that we raise the conditions in which he is being held and we insist that he must be given proper free and fair legal process and a fair trial.”

This latest statement from the Foreign Secretary on the eve of Narendra Modi’s visit simply sets out what the UK Government should do if they are concerned for a British citizen, but no doubt will be seen by the Indian authorities as British interference.

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Posted in: Sikh History