Sarabjit should be declared a martyr: family

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Sarabjit Singh, the Indian death row prisoner who died in a Lahore hospital early Thursday, should be given the stature of a “shahid” or, martyr, his family has said.

Raj Kumar Verka, vice chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, told IANS that Sarabjit Singh’s family has said he “should be given the stature of a shahid and his body be accorded the due honours”.

Verka quoted Sarabjit Singh’s daughters, Swapandeep and Poonam, as saying : “Our father was not a terrorist. He has been murdered. The killers should be punished. Our father should be declared a shahid and body should be accorded the honours of a martyr.”

Verka, who had helped the family with visas for travelling to Pakistan to meet Sarabjit Singh, said they would be returning to Amritsar Thursday.

The family – sister Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam – arrived in New Delhi Wednesday night from Amritsar. They are now to return to Amritsar in the morning in order to receive the body at the Attari-Wagah border, Verka said.

According to Verka, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is likely to be handed the body after the post-mortem, which is to be conducted Thursday morning.

Sarabjit Singh died in Lahore’s Jinnah hospital, reported Dawn.

His body has been moved to the morgue.

Hospital sources said the post-mortem examination would be conducted soon and a medical team is being constituted.

He suffered serious head injuries after being attacked by two prisoners at Kot Lakhpat jail April 26. He had been on ventilator support since then.

Sarabjit Singh had been 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.

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