Released Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh on Friday claimed that Sarabjeet Singh, another Indian prisoner on death row, has ‘converted to Islam’ and was now known as Sarfaraz in the prison, according to The Indian Express.
Surjeet claimed another Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan, Kirpal Singh, had also ‘converted to Islam’ and had a new name ‘Mohammed Din’.
Speaking to journalists at the information centre of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, Surjeet said that “Sarabjeet Singh and Kirpal Singh have converted to Islam. They probably did so in the hope of getting mercy. But no mercy was granted to them. Pakistani authorities do not grant mercy to even their own nationals.”
When contacted, Sarabjeet’s sister Dalbir Kaur denied that he had converted to Islam.
“This is not true at all. Sarabjeet was a Gursikh, is a Gursikh and will remain a Gursikh. He has kept photos of Sikh gurus in and a Sikh religious book in his cell. He regularly recites from that book,” she added.
Dalbir stated that during her visit to Kot Lakhpat to meet her brother, she heard people calling Kirpal by a Muslim name. “But this is not the case with Sarabjeet. Had he converted, he would have some Muslim name,” she said. “When I went to meet him in Pakistan, he was either addressed as Sarabjeet or Manjeet.”
When informed that Surjeet claimed that Sarabjeet had changed his name to Sarfaraz after ‘converting to Islam’, Dalbir insisted: “No way, Sarabjeet remains Sarabjeet and a Sikh and has not changed his name or converted to Islam.” Dalbir also took exception to Surjeet’s statement that Sarabjeet was hale and hearty in jail.
Meanwhile, Surjeet claimed that if things fell in place, he would ensure that Sarabjeet would be home in India in three months.
“I am very good friends with seven to eight lawmakers of Pakistan. Even Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is my friend. I have had breakfast with Zardari. And I will ensure Sarabjeet’s release,” Surjeet boldly stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.
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