Ensure adequate security for Indian prisoners: Judicial panel

New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) An India-Pakistan judicial panel that visited Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital where Sarabjit Singh was under treatment, has recommended that jail authorities

“ensure adequate security for all Indian prisoners” to avoid such incidents in future.

The committee “noted the unfortunate incident of violent attacks on two Indian prisoners (including Chamel Singh) at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, and recommended that jail authorities ensure adequate security for all Indian prisoners to avoid any such incident in the future; and would review the arrangements during its next visit to Kot Lakhpat Jail”, the panel said in a statement.

The panel also recommended that a detailed report of the official inquiry conducted by Pakistani authorities on the April 26 assault on Sarabjit Singh be shared with the committee at the earliest.

It said there were “36 prisoners, believed to be Indian nationals at Kot Lakhpat Jail”.

The panel also noted that the body of Chamel Singh, an Indian prisoner who died Jan 15, 2013 after brutal assault on him in Kot Lakhpat jail, was sent back to India only after two months. It said that a copy of the post mortem report should be shared with India at the earliest.

The committee was also informed about the escape of an under-trial Indian fisherman from the Malir jail, Karachi on Feb 11, and detention of the crew of the two Indian wooden vessels along with its cargo, off Pasni, Pakistan on April 18-19 by Pakistan authorities and requested that Pakistan inform the Indian side at the earliest about the two incidents, the report said.

The panel, comprising Justice (Retd) A.S. Gill and Justice (Retd) M.A. Khan from the Indian side, and Justice (Retd) Abdul Qadir Chaudhry, Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid and Justice (Retd) Mian Muhammad Ajmal from Pakistan side, visited District Jail Malir, Karachi, Adiyala Jail, Rawalpindi and Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, between April 26-May 1, 2013.

The panel said a total of 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen, “were presented before the committee”.

There are a total of 273 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, the Indian external affairs ministry said.

Sarabjit Singh died Thursday at Jinnah Hospital after a brutal attack by fellow prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail April 26. He had been on death row after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that left 14 people dead.

His family, however, protested his innocence, saying his was a case of mistaken identity, and that he had entered Pakistani territory in an inebriated state in 1990, and arrested there.

–Indo-Asian News service

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