Johal’s wife urges UK Government minister to help end ‘darkness’
LONDON, UK—The wife of detained Scottish citizen Jagtar Singh Johal has pleaded a UK Government minister to help her family out of the “darkness” of his Indian jail ordeal in a virtual meeting.
The Dumbarton man, a Sikh blogger known to supporters as Jaggi, has now been held by Indian authorities for 970 days over alleged involvement in the killings of right-wing Hindu leaders and the funding of a now-proscribed group.
He says police subjected him to torture after his November 2017 arrest, which followed his Punjab wedding, and threatened to shoot him or set him on fire. No evidence has been led against him, even though authorities said they had everything they needed to prosecute him in the days after his arrest. UN experts have raised concerns about his case and more than 40,000 people have signed a “Justice for Jaggi” petition.
Yesterday his wife, who is now living with his family in Scotland, urged Foreign Office Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad to help them. We have agreed not to identify her while she awaits the outcome of a residency battle due to potential reprisals in India.
The 40-minute virtual meeting came after The National revealed how the family had been waiting almost two months for talks. It was conducted in English and Punjabi, which Johal’s wife says helped her to “have a voice”.
During the session, she and brother-in-law Gurpreet Singh-Johal, Jagtar’s solicitor brother, asked Ahmad to do everything he can to raise the many delays in Jagtar’s case and his recent bail refusal.
His wife said: “We are not saying ‘get him out tomorrow’, we are saying ‘do something about the case’.”
And she told Ahmad, who has taken a “personal interest” in her mental and emotional turmoil, saying: “I’ve got to wake up every morning to this. Everything is darkness, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”
The family has not spoken to Johal, who is in the sprawling Tihar jail, since September. On what she’d say to her husband, she said: “I’d ask him how he is. I’d tell him I’m waiting for him so we can pick up our life together and forget about this nightmare.”