It was supposed to be a dream wedding for our Jagtar... but it’s turned into a nightmare Fears for Dumbarton man in India
Family’s desperate plea as Jagtar suffers in Indian prison
The family of a Dumbarton man imprisoned in India say they have been left“broken”as they plead for his return home.
Jagtar Singh Johal, 30, was bundled into a police van while shopping in Punjab.
His family fear he is being tortured in custody following reports he has been given electric shocks.
The former OLSP pupil had travelled to the region to wed his wife and he celebrated with family just weeks before his arrest.
Indian authorities are accusing him of running a magazine and “influencing the youth through social media” over the Sikh Genocide of 1984.
Brother Gurpreet, who has been denied contact with Jagtar, said: “We are a close family - this has crushed us all.”
The distraught family of a Dumbarton man imprisoned in India have made a desperate plea for his safe return home.
Sikh man Jagtar Singh Johal travelled to Punjab with his family last month for his wedding and had been there for nearly five weeks when he reportedly had a sack thrown over his head and was bundled into a police van.
The 30-year-old former Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School pupil stays in Oxhill Road with eight members of his family, who have told the Lennox Herald how they are “crushed and broken” by the events of the past two weeks.
Those lobbying for Jagtar’s safe return say police have suggested that his crime is “running a magazine” in the UK highlighting the atrocities of the 1984 Sikh Genocide and “influencing the youth through social media”.
Yesterday (Tuesday), the Sikh Federation, claimed Jagtar has suffered “brutal torture” at the hands of officers in a bid to extract a false confession.
They said Jagtar’s lawyer had confirmed he had suffered electric shocks to his body.
Brother Gurpreet Singh Johal, also from Dumbarton, spoke to the Lennox Herald about his grave concerns for Jagtar’s safety and told how a joyous wedding has turned into a nightmare for the close-knit family.
The 32-year-old said: “We all travelled to India for the wedding and it was beautiful — an enjoyable and special celebration for Jagtar and his new wife.
“It is difficult to understand how it has come to this and we just want him home.
“We are a close family and this has crushed us all.
“My wife is broken, our children are broken, we are all broken. We still haven’t had any direct contact with Jagtar and we are incredibly worried about his condition.
“Jagtar has not been charged, let alone had a trial.”
Gurpreet said Jagtar is an innocent man describing his detention as “opportunist” and in the absence of any evidence.
“Unless the British authorities quickly step in this will guarantee a law-abiding British citizen will be illegally detained for some time and will not receive a fair trial”, he added.
“He should be immediately released and returned to the UK.”
Jagtar works as an internet marketer, with his relatives previously running a number of Indian takeaway businesses in the East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow areas.
According to the Sikh Federation, Jagtar was shopping in Jalandhar on November 4 with his new wife and a cousin, when he was arrested.
He had previously travelled there in April for his engagement and stayed for seven weeks without any difficulties.
At his court appearance on November 10, a British High Commission representative, his lawyers and his family were all reportedly denied access to him.
He appeared again on Tuesday and has been again remanded in custody until Friday.
A spokesman for the federation said: “The family have confirmed today (Tuesday) that the remand has been extended again until November 17.
“This is nearly two weeks since his abduction.
“In our view this is to allow the police to continue with their brutal torture to try and extract a false confession in the absence of any evidence.”
Gurpreet said he is deeply unhappy with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and High Commission of India’s handling of the situation.
He added: “We need the Foreign Office and High Commission to pull their finger out because at the moment, nothing seems to have been done.”
In the first 24 hours of the Sikh Federation’s launch of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign, 130 MPs across the UK had been contacted by constituents, with some sending letters of complaint to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, accusing inaction.
West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has expressed his deep concern at the situation and has offered his full support to the family.
He said: “The lack of information being given to Jagtar’s family by the police and judicial authorities in Delhi following his arrest is alarming.
“I have raised this as a matter of urgency with the British High Commission of India and the Foreign Office.
“I will also be contacting the Foreign Secretary and the Scottish Government to ensure that Jagtar and his family are not unfairly mistreated by the Indian authorities.
“This is an extremely serious matter and I hope my constituents will be fully supported in their efforts to secure a positive outcome.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman has said they are in contact with Jagtar’s family, as well as the Indian authorities regarding his case.
We haven’t had any direct contact with Jagtar. We’re incredibly worried about his condition
Gurpreet Singh Johal
In captivity Jagtar Singh Johal was bundled into a police van in India and his family fear he is being tortured