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Sarabjit in coma; Family gets visa, to leave for Pak today
Afzal Khan/Perneet Singh

Islamabad/Amritsar, April 27
Sarabjit Singh, an Indian national on death row in Pakistan who was attacked by fellow inmates, is in deep coma and has been put on a ventilator as he fights for his life.

The Pakistan Government has granted visas to Sarabjitís family members who are set to leave for Lahore via Attari-Wagah border tomorrow morning.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday described attack on Sarabjit as a "very sad incident." Sarabjit was rushed to hospital on Friday with multiple wounds, including a severe head injury, after an argument in Lahoreís Kot Lakhpat Jail.

A senior doctor at the state-run Jinnah Hospital in Lahore said: "Sarabjitís condition is critical with multiple wounds on his head, abdomen, jaws and other body parts, and he has been put on ventilator."

Sarabjit is fighting for his life in the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) and the next 24 hours are critical, the doctor said, adding that the head injury was "quite severe".

"He needs surgery but the doctors are not performing it because they don't want to take any chances and want him to stabilise," he said.

Sarabjit was hit with blunt objects by two inmates, a police officer investigating the case said. "These inmates attacked Sarabjit while he was doing his evening walk. We don't exactly know the reason behind the attack, but initial investigation reveals that they had exchanged hot words with Sarabjit," he said.

The police has registered a case of attempted murder against two prisoners. The FIR against prisoners Amer Aftab and Mudassar was registered following a complaint from assistant superintendent Ishtiaq Ahmed Gill of Kot Lakhpat Jail. The two men were booked under sections 324 (attempted murder) and 334 (causing severe injuries) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Sarabjit sister Dalbir Kaur, wife Sukhpreet Kaur and two daughters Swapandeep and Poonam will be leaving for Pakistan on Sunday morning.

National SC/ST Commission vice-chairman Rajkumar Verka, who flew to New Delhi with the familyís passports, confirmed that family members have been granted visas. ďWe want to be with Sarabjit in this difficult hour. He is all alone there. We are unaware about his condition. Whatever information we have we, it is through media reports or his lawyer," Sarabjitís sister Dalbir Kaur.

Dalbir lamented that the Indian government didn't act swiftly even after reports of threat to Sarabjit's life in Lahore jail. "Had our government initiated necessary measures, Sarabjit would have been safe today," she said.

Pak flag burnt

  • The attack on Sarabjit Singh has sparked outrage in his native town Bhikhiwind in Tarn Taran district.
  • Residents took out a protest march and burnt the flag of Pakistan.
  • They demanded that Sarabjit be extended proper treatment in Pakistan.
  • In Amritsar, Congress and Shiv Sena activists held protests. BJP workers also held a demonstration at Attari border.

Sarabjit sister falls ill

  • Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur complained of uneasiness and chest pain at her Verka residence on Saturday. A doctor who examined said she had high blood pressure and breathing trouble.

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