Family of dead prisoner demands body from Pakistan
Jammu: The family of prisoner Chamel Singh, who died in a Pakistani jail after he was reportedly beaten up by the prison staff, on Monday requested the Central government to intervene in bringing his body from the neighbouring country.
"We demand the body of my father from Pakistan. We urge the Union government to intervene and take up the matter with Islamabad," Dara Singh, son of Chamel Singh, who was lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore at the time of his death, said.
Dara Singh, accompanied by over 100 villagers, presented a petition in this regard to Divisional Commissioner Pradeep Gupta to be handed over to the Centre.
"We have given a petition to the DC who has promised us to take up the issue with concerned authorities for return of the body of our father from Pakistan," Dara told reporters here.
"According to media reports, Pakistan authorities have said if the Indian government takes up the matter, they will return the body," he said.
"So, we urge the government to take up the issue with Pakistan," Dara Singh, whose mother Kamlesh Devi was present at the press conference, said.
"My husband had written a letter to us that his jail term is completing and he will return in two to three months," Kamlesh said.
"He wrote to us he was hale and hearty," she said.
Media reports said Chamel Singh, a resident of Pargwal area in Jammu, was "mercilessly beaten" by the prison staff in Kot Lakhpat jail.
The reports quoted Pakistani lawyer Tehseen Khan, who was recently released from Kot Lakhpat jail, as saying he had seen the prison staff assaulting Chamel Singh for using water from a tap to wash clothes on January 15.
Chamel died two days later at Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, according to the reports.
Indian High Commission officials said they had been formally informed by the Pakistani authorities that Singh had died in Lahore on January 15.
A note verbale on the matter did not mention the cause of Singh's death, the officials said.
Chamel Singh was arrested and convicted for espionage in Pakistan in 2008.
His family said he was not involved in spying and had gone missing from his fields on the border with Pakistan in July 2008.