The body of a Sikh man, allegedly tortured to death at Kot Lakhpat Jail, has not been sent to India a month after his death.
According to a Jinnah Hospital official, Chamail Singh’s body is still lying in the hospital’s mortuary. The official said there had been no request for a post mortem examination. Neither had there been any move to send the body abroad. The body has been lying there since January 15.
A jail official speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune that they had intimated the Home Department about Singh’s death and requested for initiation of the process to send him to India but so far no update had been received.
Sub Inspector Muhammad Sarwar of Kot Lakhpat Police Station, who took the body from jail and took it to the mortuary, told The Express Tribune that a section officer of the Home Department had contacted him last Monday and said that family of Chamail Singh had been traced in India and that within a few days the body would be sent to India.
Advocate Awais Sheikh had approached the Lahore High Court for an inquiry into Singh’s death and a post mortem examination. The petition was not entertained as he had no power of attorney from Singh’s family.
Deepak Singh, 20, the son of the deceased, had appealed to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah, about two weeks ago, to help to bring his father’s body back. He also said had heard no official version of death.
Three jail officials, including an assistant superintendent jail, allegedly beat Chamail Singh. They have been identified as havaldars Muhammad Sidique and Muhammad Nawaz and Assistant Superintendent Nasir Nawaz.
According to Tehsin Khan Advocate who says he saw the incident, Chamail Singh was washing his clothes at a tap installed in the courtyard of the jail when the three jail officials spotted him.
Khan said Nawaz asked Singh if he considered the prison his home where he could wash his clothes anywhere.
He said the havaldars beat Singh on Nawaz’s orders. Khan said he saw blood oozing from Singh’s mouth and the eyebrow area.
Khan added that after a minute Singh fell to the ground but the jail officials continued kicking him with their feet.
He said when Singh died the officials stopped the prisoners from accessing the courtyard. Khan said the officials did not want the prisoners to know about Singh’s death.
Khan was in jail finishing a term that ended January 18.
Singh was tried by a military court in Sialkot under Section 59 of Pakistan Army Act 1951 for spying.
He was awarded 5 years imprisonment. He was 48 years old.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.