Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh rejects allegations of torture of British citizen

Jagtar Singh Johal

Chandigarh (PTI): Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday rejected as “baseless” allegations that a British citizen, an accused in the cases of targeted killings, was tortured by the Punjab Police.
His remarks came a day after the UK government said it would take “extreme action” if any British citizen was being “tortured”.
The case of Scottish-born Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, who was jailed earlier this month in India, was raised in the House of Commons following reports of his alleged “torture” in custody.
The chief minister said that due process of law was being followed in the case.
“The accused was not tortured,” Singh said, adding that no unlawful method would be adopted during interrogation.
“After his arrest, the accused was produced before the court and remanded to police custody,” he said.
Singh said the accused was also provided consular access and “the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was involved in the investigation as this conspiracy has international links”.
Johal was among five accused arrested in connection with the targeted killings, including that of RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja. Johal, who got married last month, was arrested from Jalandhar.

Jagtar Singh Johal in custody in India.

The Punjab Police had earlier claimed that it had “sufficient” evidence to prove the complicity of Johal in the targeted killings.
It had also claimed to have found him to be involved in conspiracy, coordination, funding and arranging of weapons for members of the KLF [Khalistan Liberation Front] module busted in connections with the targeted killings.
A number of people have raised concerns over the allegations of torture.
British MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has been campaigning for Johal’s freedom and had also written to Downing Street seeking a meeting for his UK-based family with the prime minister.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and MP Bhagwant Mann, AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu also raised concern over the allegations.
On November 19, Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh had tweeted he was sad to hear about the alleged torture.
A campaign titled ‘Free Jaggi Now’ was also being run on social media.
[VOICE adds: Among those who raised concerns about the torture allegations in Canada were federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle ; Liberal MPs Randeep Sarai and Raj Grewal; and the World Sikh Organization of Canada.]