20 Days Remaining

Saturday 25th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

A SCOTTISH Sikh who was been arrested and allegedly tortured in an Indian jail was denied access to lawyers and consular staff ahead of a court hearing in the state of Punjab yesterday.

Representatives from the British High Commission were due to meet Jagtar Singh Johal, who lives in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, to check on his physical and mental well-being following claims that he has been tortured by Indian police.

However, late on Wednesday, the chief of police cancelled the visit, saying it was “not appropriate” for them to see Mr Johal as it was a public holiday in Punjab.

No formal charges have been brought against Mr Johal, who was arrested in Jalandhar in Punjab on November 4.

He said that he was in the country to get married, however local media have linked his detention to the murder of Hindu leaders in the region and attempting to “influence the youth through social media.”

His lawyers claim that Mr Johal has been subjected to torture including electric shocks and “body separation techniques.”

Mr Johal was reportedly denied access to his legal team, British officials and his family for 10 days following his arrest.

On Monday Prime Minister Theresa May expressed concerns over the welfare of Mr Johal while Foreign Minister Rory Stewart warned of “extreme action” against India if the torture allegations turn out to be true.

Authorities gave assurances that British consular staff would be able to see Mr Johal prior to the hearing. High Commissioner Andrew Ayre was expected to attend. The Star was waiting for details of the hearing at time of going to press.