M A I N   N E W S

India regrets attack, but turns down Pak repatriation request
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, May 3
India tonight politely turned down Pakistan’s request to repatriate its prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay, who received serious injuries after being attacked by a co-inmate in a Jammu jail, pointing out that he was receiving the best medical treatment in India. New Delhi regretted the attack on the Pakistani prisoner and informed the Pakistani side that the Jail Superintendent was immediately suspended, the Home Minister has ordered an inquiry into the incident, and the investigation has begun. After the inquiry was completed, appropriate action would be taken.

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi approached the External Affairs Ministry with the request that the prisoner be repatriated to Pakistan for medical treatment on humanitarian grounds. The Pakistani side was also told the prisoner’s present condition was stable, but he remained under constant medical watch.

New Delhi provided to the Pakistani mission consular access to the prisoner at PGI, Chandigarh, and travel permission to three officials and a driver. The issue of security of Indian prisoners in Pakistan was also raised with the Pakistani side. “We underlined the need for Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of Indian prisoners in Pakistan. With regard to Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, it was clarified that in view of the strong sentiment in India following the brutal killing of Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan, the Government of India had taken several steps to enhance security of Pakistan prisoners held in Indian jails,’’ official sources said.

India also reiterated its demand for the autopsy report of Sarabjit Singh, as well as the long-pending autopsy report of Chamel Singh, who was also killed in a Pakistani jail this January. “We also underlined the need for Pakistan to share full details of their investigation into the killing of Sarabjit Singh, as well as the actions they have taken to identify and punish those who were responsible for his brutal killing,’’ sources added.

However, the attack on the Pakistani prisoner certainly amounts to a loss of face for India. New Delhi’s claim that it has always treated prisoners, regardless of their country of origin, with dignity appears somewhat compromised due to the attack on Sanaullah. The incident is likely to add to the growing tension between the neighbours. 





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