:datelines:Two pages of a letter by British Citizen Jagtar Singh Johal share gruesome details of his torture by the police in Moga, Punjab. In the letter, Jagtar has shared various details of torture techniques used by the police during the interrogations.
While it was already known that Jagtar Singh was tortured and electrocuted by the police, his first hand account of the torture describe exact techniques that were employed.
Jagtar Singh travelled to India on a valid visa to get married. However, shortly after his marriage, he was abducted by the Punjab police and detained without any valid charges for nearly 220 days.
In his letter, Jagtar writes that after he was taken to Moga, his torture continued for days. “I was struck on my chest and back. Two people would simultaneously hit me whilst others restrained me and watched. Crocodile clips were placed on my ears and I was also electrocuted.”
He adds “police forced me to make recordings in which I had to narrate according to what they were telling me to say” and “blank papers were also forcibly signed” as well as other documents he was not allowed to read.
“It has now been revealed that Indian police officers not only tortured him, but brought in petrol into the interrogation room and threatened to burn him alive,” said Sikh Federation secretary Gurjeet Singh.
“Police officers also threatened to do the same to his family and orders were given to arrest his wife and cousin sister who were with him when he was abducted if he did not make a false confession as they had no evidence against him,” he added.
“We can also reveal the Government of India has failed to respond to an urgent appeal from three high level United Nations experts to investigate the serious allegations of torture of Jagtar.
A joint urgent appeal to the Government of India was sent on 29 January 2018 by the Special Rapporteur on Torture; the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief, and the Vice-Chair of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.”
The Indian Government has so far refused to respond to the UN experts. A month earlier on May 4, 2018 Sikh Federation (UK) representatives joined Jagtar’s family members in Geneva for a meeting with UN officials to discuss next steps as India had not responded within the three month protocol.
The UN has now made its urgent appeal public in a report to the UN Human Rights Council that will meet from 18 June to 6 July in Geneva. Jagtar’s brother and his MP Martin Docherty-Hughes are due to meet Mark Field, the UK Foreign Minister responsible for relations with India as the UN Human Rights Council starts its 38th session.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), who joined Jagtar’s family in the meeting with UN officials last month said:
“The Indian authorities have no evidence against Jagtar that would stand up in court and that is why they tortured him and threatened to burn him alive or shoot him dead in a fake encounter.”
“According to Jagtar’s handwritten note that the UK Government and the UN experts have been aware of for many months they also threatened his newly-wed wife and cousin sister with the ‘same treatment’.”
“We now know that during the torture and death threats to him and his family members the Indian police forced Jagtar to sign blank papers and other documents and make false video recordings saying exactly what they wanted him to say to implicate him.”
“The Indian police then leaked the so-called ‘confessional video’ to the Indian media knowing they had no evidence and this information could not be used in a court of law.”
“The 2,000 page charge sheet only has 12 lines relevant to Jagtar that simply repeat what was in the police confessional video that would normally be inadmissible in court.”
“What Jagtar said on video under police duress can be disproved as inaccurate by those he mentioned he met in 2013 that are still living in the UK or Italy. Although less than two months ago, the Indian police murdered in prison the other person they were trying to connect him with from 5 years ago.”
“Jagtar’s family, the Sikh community and at least 250 UK MPs that have had letters from constituents regarding Jagtar and written to the Foreign Office have waited patiently for the UK Government for the last seven months.”
“In Parliament first the Foreign Office Minister promised MPs ‘extreme action’ against India for torturing and threatening an innocent British national, but in recent months before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London to be attended by Narendra Modi this became we do not believe in ‘megaphone diplomacy’ when it comes to India.”
“We believe these public revelations demand the UK Government take the extreme action they promised MPs or it will show they are too weak to protect an innocent British national from torture and death threats.”
The Indian High Commission in London has refused to comment on the Indian Government’s failure to respond to UN human rights experts and the latest revelations from Jagtar’s handwritten account that was shared with the UK Government and UN human rights experts months earlier.