India refutes as 'untrue' claims of British Sikh man's torture in Delhi jail

Jagtar Singh Johal was arrested in 2017

Representative image | PTI Representative image | PTI

 India on Wednesday refuted as absolutely untrue allegations that a British Sikh man arrested on charges relating to terrorism is being tortured in Tihar Jail in New Delhi after group of demonstrators staged a protest outside 10 Downing Street in London.

The protesters waved placards and made speeches to protest British national Jagtar Singh Johal's detention in India for 1,020 days. 

His brother, Gurpreet Singh Johal, handed in a letter for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking his intervention over the alleged third-degree torture and mistreatment and lack of charges against his younger brother in India.

The Indian High Commission in London in a statement said, Jagtar Singh Johal has been arrested on serious charges relating to terrorism. It is untrue that he is being held without any charges. The prosecuting agency, NIA (National Investigation Agency), has already filed charge sheet in the court of law and he is presently undergoing judicial proceedings as per the law of the land.

It is absolutely untrue that he has been subjected to torture. He has been granted consular access several times to the UK High Commission in New Delhi. Further, institutional safeguards like the Human Rights Commission exist to investigate any such allegation, it said.

Johal, a 33-year-old Scottish-born Sikh, was in Jalandhar with his family for his wedding in October 2017 when he was arrested by police in the city.

His case has since been going through the judicial process in India and his relatives in Britain launched a campaign, holding several protests over the years seeking his return to the UK.

The Indian High Commission said the protest outside Downing Street on Wednesday has been instigated by the same vested elements who instrumentalise and misguide youth like Johal, based on a fabricated and misinformation campaign directed at the Sikh community in the UK.

The Sikh community is a vibrant element of India's secular fabric. You all would have witnessed that way government of India celebrated with grace and honour, in an unprecedented scale, the 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji all over India and abroad, through the Indian embassies/high commissions last year in the UK, a Sikh Studies Chair has been instituted in the University of Birmingham by the government of India, the statement added. 

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