The CSF Calls on Govt to Act on Indian Prisoners & Investigate Paki Ansar Burney

May 4, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Forum Calls on Union Government to Act on Indian Prisoners in Pakistan Jails
Save Kripal Singh Now – India Must Internationalize Sarabjit. No More Killings in Pak Jails
Ansar Burney Demanding Rs. 25 Crores to Free Sarabjit Must be Investigated – Deny Visa, if True

Sarabjit’s sister holds up a poster pleading for his release. Sarabjit died early Thursday morningThe Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), the Mumbai-based activist community NGO has said that there is no doubt that the government of Pakistan has blood on its hands in the Sarabjit murder case and called upon the union government to secure the immediate release of Indian prisoners to avoid a re-occurrence. The CSF has called for union government intervention to secure the release of Kirpal Singh from Gurdaspur arrested for allegedly spying in 1991 and presently in Lahore jail. ” The plight of hundreds of Indians languishing in Pakistan jails is similar, most of them being fishermen and of whom only 33 Indians have consular access. Sarabjit’s killing comes after that of Chamel Singh, who died similarly in the same jail and if India does not act, we might just have yet another “, said Joseph Dias, the CSF general secretary. ” It is chilling to read of the human rights violations and humiliation heaped upon Indians in Pakistan jails. Former Indian prisoners have reported that they had to wash Pakistani inmates undergarments, served dry roti and dishwater, forced to eat non-vegetarian food, inhuman torture on their private parts, cleaning toilets, etc. and this indignation heaped on them must stop. “, Joseph Dias added.

Ansar BurneyThe CSF general secretary also called upon Dr. Manmohan Singh, the prime minister to investigate the very serious allegation made by Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur, who accused Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney of being a ‘fraud’ and said had she paid “Rs.25 crore to Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India.” It must be noted that if it were not the truth, Dalbir Kaur, would not have alleged “Had I paid Rs.25 crore to Ansar Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India. I am poor so could not pay him. Burney had told me that at least pay Rs.2 crore to get Sarabjit. He told me that if I will give him the money in the morning, Sarabjit will be released by evening “. Joseph Dias said that Pakistani human rights activists had come under a cloud, especially since 2008 when Bhagwan Das was seen by fellow Indian prisoners being tortured to death. Thereafter human rights activists were told a concocted story that he died of electrocution, while switching on a washing machine. According to him, ” The allegation coming from next-of-kin of Sarabjit is a serious one and if an inquiry establishes that Ansar Burney did indeed exploit the situation, then he must be denied a visa to visit India in the future “.

535 Indian prisoners in three Pakistani jails

Prisoner in JailNew Delhi, May 02, 2013: A report of an India-Pakistan judicial panel that visited three jails in Pakistan, including Kot Lakhpat in Lahore where Sarabjit Singh was lodged, said Friday that 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen, “were presented before the committee”. There are 273 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, the panel said.

The panel, comprising retired judges A.S Gill and M.A Khan from the Indian side, and Abdul Qadir Chaudhry, Nasir Aslam Zahid and Mian Muhammad Ajmal from the Pakistani side, visited the Malir (Karachi), Adiyala (Rawalpindi) and Kot Lakhpat (Lahore) jails April 26-May 1, 2013, an external affairs ministry statement said.

“A total number of 535 Indian prisoners, including 483 fishermen (including 11 juveniles) and eight civil prisoners, believed to be Indian nationals at District Jail Malir, Karachi, eight prisoners, believed to be Indian nationals at Adiyala Jail, Rawalpindi and 36 prisoners, believed to be Indian nationals at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore were presented before the Committee,” the report says.

It says that as per the Agreement on Consular Access of May 21, 2008, both sides exchanged a list of prisoners Jan 1, 2013. The Committee also “appreciated the release of 684 Indian fishermen and 30 Indian civil prisoners by Pakistani authorities and 96 Pakistani fisherman and 59 Pakistani civil prisoners by Indian authorities since January 2012 till date”.

It said in the Malir jail, there were 29 Indian prisoners who had completed their sentence more than a month ago and recommended that they be released and repatriated before May 17, 2013.

It also said that consular access must be provided immediately to all those prisoners who have not been given this so far, and the process of confirming their nationality should begin immediately after consular access is provided.

The panel found “there were 459 fishermen and 10 civil prisoners in the three jails for whom consular access was not provided. The Committee recommended providing consular access to all such prisoners and fishermen before May 17, and the Pakistani side agreed for the same”.

It also recommended that the seriously ill and mentally challenged and deaf/mute prisoners must be kept in appropriate hospitals/special institutions. It found one prisoner in Malir jail, two in Adiyala Jail, and 20 prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail to be “mentally challenged”.

It said copies of the FIR, medical report and photograph at the time of detention should be shared with the Indian High Commission and that “efforts should also be made to rule out that these prisoners are not Pakistani nationals”.

It said that the names of several prisoners “had been dropped from the successive lists of prisoners, believed to be Indian, which were shared by Pakistan side twice every year”. It recommended that Pakistan “provide a formal verification to Indian side and vice versa if any names were left out from the previous list of prisoners, so that each side could follow up on each case and discrepancy in list maintained by each side reduced”.

It recommended a mechanism for “compassionate and humanitarian consideration” for women, juvenile, mentally challenged, elderly and all those suffering from serious illness.

– tcn

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