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

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Foulds

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

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