Bhikhiwind (Punjab), May 2 (IANS) Sarabjit Singh’s hometown Bhikhiwind Thursday mourned his death in a hospital in Lahore.
Establishments in the town remained shut since morning after receiving the news of his death in a hospital where he was admitted April 26 after being viciously attacked in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail by fellow prisoners.
The town, which had burst into a celebration mode in June 2012 by bursting of crackers and distributing sweets when incorrect reports came that Sarabjit was being released by the Pakistan government, Thursday woke up to receive the sad news of his death.
“We were expecting a miracle to happen. We wanted Sarabjit to recover. What the Pakistanis have done is cowardly. He had suffered in their jails for nearly 23 years and now they have murdered him,” a visibly upset Bhikhiwind resident Kirpal Singh said as he and some others gathered outside the house of Sarabjit Singh.
Some residents also gathered outside the local gurdwara and protested against Pakistan.
With the family away in New Delhi, there was no one at their house here, 280 km from Chandigarh. The town is located close to the India-Pakistan international border.
Shops and other establishments in the town remained closed Thursday to mourn his death.
“Residents of the town were hoping and praying that Sarabjit would return in their midst one day. The Pakistani authorities have killed him by conspiracy,” another resident Amrit Kaur said.
Residents of the town saw celebrations and disappointment within a few hours in June in 2012 when reports first said that the Pakistan government had announced his release.
However, in a flip-flop, the Pakistani authorities later clarified that not Sarabjit Singh but another Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh, was being released.
Sarabjit, 49, had suffered critical head injuries after an unprovoked and sudden assault by prisoners April 26.
Sarabjit was 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 claimed that he was innocent and was arrested when he crossed over to Pakistan in an inebriated state.
Police in Pakistan, however, claimed that Sarabjit Singh, was involved in terror strikes.