Sarabjit Singh's family returns to India, seeks appointment with Sonia Gandhi
Zee Media Bureau
Amritsar/Lahore: The distraught family of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who was brutally assaulted in a Lahore jail last week, returned home via Wagah Border on Wednesday after doctors in Pakistan reportedly indicated that he was "clinically dead".
Upon their return, Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said that the family will try to meet UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi soon.
Raj Kumar Verka, Vice Chairman of the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes, said in Amritsar on Tuesday that he spoke to Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur who told him that doctors have told her that Sarabjit was "brain dead".
"I think that Sarabjit had died earlier. Why did the Pakistan government have to do this drama (of allowing the family to visit him in Lahore) when he was already gone? They sought her permission to remove him from the ventilator," Verka, who was instrumental in securing visas for four members of Sarabjit's family from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on Saturday, told media.
Meanwhile, Sarabjit's lawyer Awais Sheikh told a news channel from Lahore that he will file a new petition in Lahore High Court today seeking permission for Indian doctors to examine him.
“I am going to file a fresh petition in Lahore High Court seeking its permission to allow the Indian doctors to be part of the medical board which is treating Sarbjit Singh here.”
When quizzed why he was pressing for the inclusion of Indian doctors in the Pakistan medical board, Sheikh admitted that he was doing so as he suspected full information is not being disseminated about Sarabjit Singh’s health.
Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur is also seeking an appointment with the UPA chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to brief her about Sarabjit Singh’s condition and to request her to press the Centre to ask Pakistan to handle the case more sensitively.
Sarabjit Singh, 49, was admitted to a Lahore hospital in a critical condition after a vicious attack on him by fellow prisoners at the Kot Lakhpat Jail April 26. He has been on ventilator support ever since.
The Indian government had earlier appealed to Pakistan for Sarabjit's release even while a medical board in Pakistan said that he would continue to get treatment in Pakistan and not shifted out.
The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi had asked Pakistan to take a "sympathetic and humanitarian" view on Sarabjit.
Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam, crossed from the Attari-Wagah border checkpost into Pakistan Sunday afternoon to visit him in a Lahore hospital.
He has been on death row in Pakistan since 1990 after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan, which left 14 people dead.
Sarabjit's family claims he is innocent, and that he crossed over to Pakistan in August 1990 in an inebriated state and was arrested there.
Police in Pakistan, however, claimed that Sarabjit Singh, known there as Manjit Singh, was involved in terrorist strikes.