External Affairs

Pakistan Says Indian Prisoner Died of Heart Attack; Kin Wants Him to Be Declared Martyr

Kirpal Singh’s family has been assured by Sushma Swaraj that his mortal remains will be brought back to India as soon as possible.

India's acting High Commissioner in Islamabad will seek a meeting with the Pakistan Foreign Office in connection with the death of an Indian under mysterious circumstances in a Lahore jail. Credit: ANI

India’s acting High Commissioner in Islamabad will seek a meeting with the Pakistan Foreign Office in connection with the death of an Indian under mysterious circumstances in a Lahore jail. Credit: ANI

New Delhi: The family of Kirpal Singh, the Indian prisoner who died in a Lahore jail, has demanded that his body be brought back to the country. Singh, 50, was found dead in his cell at Kot Lakhpat jail in the wee hours of April 10. They have also called upon the Centre to declare him a ‘martyr’, like Sarabjit Singh, the Indian death row prisoner who died in 2013, after being attacked by fellow inmates at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

Singh, a native of Mustafabad Saida village close to the India-Pakistan border, was imprisoned in the Lahore jail for 24 years after being accused of playing a part in a bomb attack at the Faisalabad railway station.

His family have, however, claimed that he was innocent, and had inadvertently slipped into Pakistani territory under the influence of liquor in February, 1992. Although Singh had been acquitted of the charges against him, his death sentence could not be commuted for unknown reasons.

Singh’s family members said they are planning to meet Raj Kumar, vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit’s sister, as part of their efforts to ensure that his body is brought back to India from Pakistan for the last rites.

On April 14, India asked its Acting High Commissioner in Islamabad to seek a meeting with the Pakistan Foreign Office in connection with Singh’s demise. The purpose of the meeting was to seek the early transportation of Singh’s remains, the official information on the cause of death and the postmortem report. At the meeting, Pakistan officials said Singh had died of a heart attack. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured Singh’s family that his mortal remains will be brought back to India as soon as possible. She also said that India would attempt to revive the Indo-Pakistan Judicial Committee, dealing with the welfare and status of each other the country’s prisoners locked in the other’s prisons.

(with inputs from PTI)