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Live: Sanaullah's attacker Vinod Kumar sent to 7-day police custody

by Ayeshea Perera  May 4, 2013 19:00 IST

#India   #Indian prisoner   #NewsTracker   #Pakistan   #Sarabjit Singh   #World  

6. 00 pm: Accused sent to 7-day police custody

Vinod Kumar, who had allegedly attacked and critically injured a Pakistani prisoner in Kot Balwal jail in Jammu, was remanded to seven days police custody.

The Forest Court has remanded prisoner Vinod Kumar to seven days police custody in connection with the attack on the Pakistani prisoner after the police sought Kumar’s custody for further investigation into the case, a police officer told PTI.


4 May, 5. 30 pm: Pakistan prisoner condition still critical

The condition of Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay, who was injured in a scuffle with another inmate in Jammu jail, remained critical on Saturday.

Sanaullah is on a “ventilator, remains unconsicious and is on dopamine and noradrenaline infusions to maintain his blood pressure”, sources at the Post Graduate Institue of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) said.

8. 30 pm: Haq will not be sent back to Pakistan

CNN-IBN reports that India will not send back Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Haq. Haq's condition, according to reports, is now stable and he is undergoing treatment at Chandigarh's multi-speciality Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science and Research (PGIMER).

Pakistan had earlier today asked India to release Haq and send him back to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.

8. 10 pm: India allows Pak officials to meet Haq

Indian on Friday allowed Pakistan officials  to meet injured prisoner Sanaullah Haq in Chandigarh. Haq was airlifted from Jammu and is now being treated at a hospital in Chandigarh.

India, however, is yet to give its consent on repatriating Haq.


4.22 pm: Sarabjit's heart, kidneys, stomach were not present in body say doctors at Punjab hospital

Gurjit Mann, HOD of the Forensic department that conducted a second autopsy on the body of slain Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, has said that the stomach, heart, kidneys and gall bladder were not present in Sarabjit's body at the time of autopsy.

Therefore he said that since this viscera was not present at the time of testing, the cause of death could not be established. Mann said it was possible that these parts had been sent for further testing by the doctors who conducted the autopsy in Lahore hospital.

That said however, Dr Mann said that doctors had noted fracture of the skull bones, multiple fractures of the mandible bone - other injuries in the form of dark coloured bruises on the back of his soldiers, his left ear and the left side of his head.

He added that there were fractures of the 3rd,4th and 5th ribs on the left side and the 4th and 5th ribs on right side. The injuries had been caused by blunt heavy objects, he added.

Dr Mann added that the Lahore hospital where the first autopsy was conducted, had determined cause of death to be cardio-pulmonary arrest, but had not ruled out head injury as the cause of death.

The doctor added that as far as they were concerned, the provisional cause of Sarabjit Singh's death was severe head injury.

3.50 pm: Send Haq home for treatment, Pak asks India

Pakistan has asked India to send injured prisoner Sanaullah Haq home for treatment following the attack at a Jammu jail, reports CNN-IBN.

Pakistan has demanded that India airlift Haq back to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds so that he can be provided proper medical care in Pakistan.

3. 20 pm: Injured Pak prisoner to be airlifted to Chandigarh

An air ambulance has been sent from Delhi to Jammu to airlift injured Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Haq who will be shifted to PGI, Chandigarh.

Police officials have also filed an FIR against Vinod Kumar, a convict from Uttarakhand and an investigation has begun.

Conuslar access will also be granted to Pakistan after the patient's condition stabilises.

Kumar was arrested in Leh and recently transferred to Jammu. He is serving a life sentence.

3. 00 pm: Sarabjit Singh cremated with full state honours

Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh was laid to rest with full state honours at his native village Bhikhiwind in Punjab. Thousands, including politicians, attended the funeral to pay their last respects.

2:25 pm: Sarabjit Singh gets 21 gun salute

As the ceremony continues, Sarabjit Singh is given a 21-gun salute even as the hundreds who have gathered for the funeral look on.

2:20 pm: Stream of political leaders leave ahead of the funeral

MoS for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi among the long line of political leaders who were escorted out of the funeral site as the ceremony is set to begin.

2:15 pm: Punjab govt autopsy report hints skull injury caused death

While the media briefing is to take place in the evening, some news outlets have reported that the second autopsy report has stated that a skull injury that had contributed to his death.

2:00 pm: Sarabjit's sister Dalbir begins final rites

The final rites of the Indian prisoner have begun with a tearful Dalbir Kaur beginning the rituals.

His family members are all in tears as the funeral begins.

1:22 pm: Sarabjit's body taken for cremation

The body of Sarabjit Singh is now being taken for cremation draped in the Indian flag with hundreds present at the venue to pay their final respects. His family members were in tears as the body was taken away for the cremation.

12.49 pm: Will provide consular access once medical arrangements are in place, says MEA

Spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin, has said that once medical arrangements are in place for injured Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Haq, the MEA will provide Pakistan with consular access. Speaking to the media Akbaruddin said, "It is our view that jail authorities are responsible for safety of prisoners, and an investigation is being conducted."

He added that it was the intention of the MEA to discuss recommendations of a committee of judicial panel on Indo-Pak prisoners to ensure that such incidents did not take place, especially given that both countries had a large number of each others citizens housed in their prisons.

The prisoner, Sanaullah Haq, is in a critical condition and is not expected to survive the attack.

12.36 pm: India officially expresses regret at attack on Pak prisoner

CNN-IBN has reported that India has officially expressed regret at the attack on Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Haq which has resulted in him lying in a coma with critical injuries to his head and brain.

India's Ministry of External Affairs has also granted Pakistan consular access Haq who is currently in the ICU at the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu. CNN-IBN added that India had promised a joint judicial commission to probe the attack.

Haq will be moved to PFI Chandigarh if feasible

12.05 am: Unlike Sarabjit Pakistani prisoner will not die, says Farooq Abdullah

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah has said that the Pakistani prisoner who was attacked in a Jammu jail will be saved. "This man will not die. Sarabjit died in Pakistan", said a defensive Abdullah to journalists in the state.

Abdullah said that the unprovoked and brutal attack on Sarabjit in a Lahore jail had naturally caused a lot of anger, adding that the state would do whatever possible to guarantee the safety of other Pakistani prisoners.

11.34 am: Pakistan HC asks for consular access to prisoner attacked in Jammu

The Pakistan High Commission has put in a request with the Ministry of External Affairs asking for consular access to a Pakistani prisoner who is in a coma after being attacked by an Indian prisoner in a Jammu jail. They have also reportedly demanded a probe into the incident.

Manzoor Memon, Spokesman for the Pakistan High Commission said that Pakistan speaking to CNN-IBN said, "We are very concerned and have shown our deep concern about the security of our prisoners. We want to know why this incident happened despite a MHA order asking for security to be stepped up for Pakistani prisoners".

Memon added that they are not satisfied with the security measures being provided to Pakistani prisoners.

The prisoner in Kot Bhalwal jail was attacked in the head with a pick-axe and has suffered critical injuries to his brain.

Firstpost editor Praveen Swamy said that highly placed government sources said that the attack had occurred when prisoners had been out of their cells on fatigue duty. He said that a murder convict from Leh had reportedly attacked the Pakistani prisoner with a pick-axe after a heated exchange of words in which Sarabjit's name had been mentioned.

10.34 am: Tit for tat? Pak prisoner critically injured in Jammu jail

A Pakistani prisoner in Kot Bhalwal jail on the outskirts of Jammu was critically injured when he was attacked by a fellow prisoner, a senior police official said Friday.

The Pakistani prisoner was attacked by a former Indian Army soldier. The prisoner, who was taken to the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu, had suffered serious head injuries and was in a coma, doctors said.

The attack on the prisoner came hours after Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh succumbed to injuries after being brutally attacked in a Lahore jail. Meanwhile CNN-IBN reported that orders had been issued to keep Pakistani prisoners separate from Indian prisoners in UP jails.

Sources told Firstpost that he has suffered serious injury to the right temporal lobe area and is undergoing a CT scan. The prisoner will be moved to PFI Chandigarh if feasible. The sources added that he is is a critical state and is unlikely to survive.

The Jammu and Kashmir Home Minister has said meanwhile that the jail superintendent has been suspended, and security for other Pakistani prisoners has been beefed up. Investigations into the incident are continuing - presumably focusing on why Pakistani and Indian prisoners were allowed to mingle while wielding pick-axes.

10.15 am: Hundreds flock to Sarabjit's village to pay respects

Hundreds of people flocked to Sarabjit's village of Bhikhiwind since early Friday to catch a last glimpse of Sarabjit Singh, the Indian prisoner who was killed in a brutal attack in a prison in Lahore, Pakistan.

The Punjab government has announced a three-day state mourning for Sarabjit. He will be cremated with full state honours round 2pm on Friday. A number of top politicians and others are expected to attend the cremation, and arrangements were made for the expected presence of thousands at the cremation ground.

The body, placed in a wooden coffin and draped in the tri-colour, was brought for its final journey to his native town past midnight.

It is now being moved to a local school for people to pay their respects:

As the Indian Air Force helicopter equipped with night-landing facility landed at the special helipad, Sarabjit's sister, Dalbir Kaur, earlier a picture of strength, and the champion of her brother's freedom and return from Pakistan, appeared completely shattered. She touched the coffin as it was brought out from the helicopter.

Sarabjit's body was flown in a special Air India flight from Lahore to Amritsar international airport around 7.40 p.m. Thursday; from Amritsar, it was transported to Bhikhiwind by chopper.

(IANS)

9.46 am Pak Human Rights commission blames jail authorities

In strong criticism of the April 26 brutal attack on Sarabjit Singh in Kot Lakhpat jail here, Pakistan's Human Rights Commission said Thursday that "not even the most naïve person can believe" that the assault on Sarabjit by prisoners can be executed "without the knowledge and support of prison guards and the authorities".

In a statement, hours after the death of Sarabjit in Lahore's Jinnah Hospital, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said the Indian death row prisoner faced “more threats than other prisoners on account of the charge that he was convicted of and yet his security was so completely compromised”.

The commission said it is concerned that Sarabjit's death “might undermine the hard work done by both countries to normalize relations”.

Stressing that both sides will “have to go out of their way to undo the damage that the murder and the manner that it took place in has done”, it said that the need of the hour was to “expeditiously conclude a judicial inquiry to bring all those who are involved to justice”.

“If the two countries begin to treat each other’s prisoners with some compassion even now instead of exposing them to the worst of treatment reserved for prisoners in their jails, then some good would still have come from Sarabjit’s brutal murder.”

It said the murderous attack on Sarabjit “is far more serious a crime than allowing someone like General Pervez Musharraf to escape from court”.

It said Sarabjit died when members of the joint Pak-India Judges Committee were visiting Pakistan in order to assess the conditions of detention of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails.

Hitting out against sabre-rattling by some over the incident, the panel said: "Those in Pakistan who take pride in their vengefulness must feel some shame today, if they are capable of that. Those elements in India who are no less vengeful, intolerant and fond of jingoism than their Pakistani counterparts would no doubt write their own script now.”

It said it was concerned that Sarabjit’s death “might undermine the hard work done by both countries to normalize relations. They will have to go out of their way to undo the damage that the murder and the manner that it took place in has done”.

The statement was signed by Zohra Yusuf, chairperson HRCP.

Sarabjit Singh was brutally attacked by fellow prisoners in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail April 26 after which he slipped into a comatose condition.

He had been on death row after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that left 14 people dead. He succumbed to his injuries Thursday.

(IANS)

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Updates for 2 May end

10. 00 pm: Sarabjit's body reaches hometown

Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh's body has reached his native village Bikhiwind in Tarn Taran district of Punjab. An Indian Air Force chopper carried the body from Amritsar to his village.

Sarabjit will be cremated with full state honours and the Punjab government has announced a three-day state mourning.


8. 30 pm: Post-mortem being conducted on Sarabjit's body

The second post mortem of Sarabjit's body as per his family's wish to "know the cause behind his death" is being conducted at Patti by a team of six doctors of government-run Amritsar Medical college, officials said.

He said the postmortem will be over by 10 pm and after which the body will be taken to Sarabjit's native Bikhiwind village in Tarn Taran district, 10-km away from the Indo-Pak border, by road. - PTI


7. 40 pm: Sarabjit's body lands in Amritsar

The body of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh has finally landed in Amritsar. This, after much procedural delays by custom officials in Pakistan. India will now conduct a second post-mortem on his body before it is sent to his native village for cremation with full state honours.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has announced a three-day state mourning.

7:00 pm: Minister says flight carrying Sarabjit's body has taken off, to land soon

"Body has taken off from Lahore. It will be brought to Amritsar and then taken to the village for cremation," Preneet Kaur, MoS for External Affairs, said.

She said there had been some bureaucratic delays before the flight took off but it was expected to land soon.

6:40 pm: Sarabjit's body finally clears all checks, loaded into aircraft

Singh's body has finally been cleared by all authorities and it is now being loaded onto the special aircraft that will bring it back to India, reported Times Now.

6:30 pm: Pakistani customs clears body, narcotics agency blocks coffin

The Pakistani customs authorities have now reportedly cleared the body but now the agency meant to check for narcotics has reportedly sought a no-objection certificate, reports Times Now.

6:10 pm: Sarabjit's body held up by Pakistani customs?

Times Now reports that the customs authorities have held up the body of Sarabjit Singh at the Lahore airport because there wasn't adequate documentation.

The no objection certificate from the Pakistan Foreign Office and a police report are not with the body due to which the customs have delayed clearing the body to be sent to India, the channel reports.

6.00 pm: Sarabjit Singh to be cremated on Friday

Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who died in Pakistan early Thursday, will be cremated in his hometown Bhikhiwind in Punjab's border district of Tarn Taran, amid great anger in the town.

Sarabjit's family, which was in New Delhi, reached his village of Bhikhiwind, 50 km from Amritsar, by helicopter on Thursday evening. Scores of local residents gathered at the helipad to meet them and walked with them to their house.

Sarabjit's body was being flown from Lahore to Amritsar on its way to this town, and arrangements were underway for the last rites. A number of leaders are expected to attend the cremation on Friday.

Angry residents of the town held protests on Thursday and kept the entire town shut. Shops and educational institutions also remained closed.

Protestors gathered at various places and condemned the "cowardly" actions by Pakistani authorities which led to Sarabjit's death. Residents of the town mourned his death and said the Indian and Pakistani governments could have saved him.

The town woke up on Thursday to receive the sad news of his death in a Lahore hospital.

Residents of the town saw celebrations and disappointment within a few hours in June in 2012 when reports first said that the Pakistan government had announced his release.

"We were expecting a miracle to happen. We wanted Sarabjit to recover. What the Pakistanis have done is cowardly. He had suffered in their jails for nearly 23 years and now they have murdered him," a visibly upset Bhikhiwind resident Kirpal Singh said as he and some others gathered outside the house of Sarabjit's family.

Some residents also gathered outside the local gurdwara and protested against Pakistan.

"Residents of the town were hoping and praying that Sarabjit would return in their midst one day. The Pakistani authorities have killed him by conspiracy," another resident, Amrit Kaur, said.

(IANS)

5.47 pm: Aircraft carrying Sarabjit's body to reach India by 7.30pm

Raj Kumar Verka,VC,SC/ST Commission, and a friend of Sarabjit Singh's family has said that the special aircraft bearing Sarabjit Singh's body will land in India by around 7 or 7.30pm in India. "The chopper should leave Lahore by this evening, but if for some reason it cannot leave Pakistan, that the body will be brought by road", he said.

Verka added that the family had demanded that a post mortem be conducted in to Sarabjit's death by the Punjab government as well.

This is an image of Sarabjit's body being taken out of the Lahore hospital where his autopsy was conducted:

Pakistani hospital staff transfer the body of jailed Indian spy Sarabjit Singh after an autopsy at a local hospital in Lahore: AFP

Pakistani hospital staff transfer the body of jailed Indian spy Sarabjit Singh after an autopsy at a local hospital in Lahore: AFP

5. 00 pm: Aircraft lands at Lahore International Airport

The special Air India aircraft to bring back Sarabjit Singh's body has landed at the Lahore International Airport. Times Now reports that there are some procedural delays but the aircraft will leave for India later this evening.

The body will be received in Amritsar by Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs.

4. 36 pm: India to conduct second autopsy?

Times Now reports that India will conduct a second autopsy on Sarabjit Singh's body in India to ascertain the cause of death. The autopsy will be conducted at a hospital in Amritsar and his body will be flown to his native village early Friday morning.

4. 25 pm: Home Ministry issues advisory to all states

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory to all states asking them to step up security of all Pakistani prisoners lodged in their respective jails.

4.18 pm: Update: Special aircraft leaves for Pak to bring back Sarabjit's body

A special Air India  aircraft has left India for Lahore, Pakistan. Sarabjit Singh's body will be flown back to India later this evening.

4.15 pm: MEA spokesman says bringing back Sarabjit is primary concern of govt

Spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin has said that the government's primary focus is to ensure that Sarabjit Singh's body comes back to India as early as possible and he is buried by his near and dear ones. "All discussions have been to facilitate this. We have been in touch with various officials and everything possible being done at all levels", he told a media briefing in New Delhi.

Akbaruddin added that India believed Sarabjit was innocent of the charges leveled against him, saying "if he was considered guilty, we wouldn't have purused his case".

The MEA spokesman also said that Pakistan had clearly failed in its responsibility to ensure the safety and security of prisoners. "There cannot be two arguments of authorities in this manner. In fact when we had concerns following the death of Chamel Singh in January, we had asked that Sarabjit's security be ensured", he said.

3.32 pm: Sarabjit's post-mortem report to be released in three weeks

CNN-IBN quoting sources, has said that Sarabjit Singh's post-mortem report will be released in three weeks.

The news comes even as media reports indicate that Sarabjit's body has been handed over to Indian officials in Lahore. The body will be airlifted to Amritsar in a BSF air ambulance and then transported to Sarabjit's village in Punjab.

The body is expected to be returned to India at about 6pm IST.

3.20 pm: Shiv Sena hold demonstrations forcing diversion of Indo-Pak bus services
A series of protest demonstrations over the death of Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani hospital, leading to diversion of international buses running between Delhi and Lahore.

Activists of Shiv Sena, led by its state unit vice-president Inderjit Karwal, took out a protest march from Hanumangarhi temple and converged on National Highway 1 at Sugar Mill crossing. They blocked the traffic briefly in protest against the failure of Indian government to save Sarabjit.

The protesters demanded cancellation of bus and train services to Pakistan, who they said must be dealt with sternly.

Meanwhile, another group of activists belonging to the outfit, also staged a demonstration against the Pakistan government on the national highway near local bus stand.

Due to these protests, the Sada-e-Sarhad Lahore-Delhi international bus was diverted from village Mehtan to Phagwara bypass to national highway via Hargobind Nagar.

The Delhi-Lahore bus was also diverted from Hargobind Nagar to Phagwara bypass to the national highway via Mehtan, official sources said.

(PTI)
3.03 pm: PM announces Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia for Sarabjit's family

An ex-gratia payment of Rs 25 lakhs has been announced from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund for the family of Sarabjit Singh, reported Doordarshan. Earlier in a statement, the Prime Minister had condemned Sarabjit's brutal murder.

"The criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on Sarabjit Singh must be brought to justice. I regret that Pakistan did not heed pleas of India and Sarabjit's family for taking a humanitarian view in this case", read the statement.

2.55 pm: Ansar Burney condemns Dalbir Kaur's 'slanderous' allegations

Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney has expressed pain and anguish over what he has described as the 'false and slanderous' allegations by Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur earlier on Thursday.

Speaking to the media hours after news of Sarabjit's death was made public, an anguished Kaur hit out at Pakistan and Burney in particular. Ansar Burney is a ‘fraud'. Had I paid ‘Rs 25 crore to Ansar Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India”, she said.

Burney responded to the allegations via his Twitter account.

"How can I ask for any demand from a lady from whom even I have never asked for a cup of tea and for whose family I was helping on humanity. I feel a lot of pain by her false & slanderous allegations since I always tried to help her family and her brother on humanitarian grounds.I was shocked to hear nonsense & false accusation by Dalbeer Kaur, sister of Sarbajit Singh, I was the one who helped her every time", read the tweets.

2.22 pm: Sarabjit Singh's body to be handed over to India at around 3.30 pm

Sarabjit's Singh body will be handed over to Indian authorities in Lahore at around 3.30pm IST, reported Times Now. The body will then be lifted to Amritsar, after which it will be transported to Sarabjit's village of Bhikhiwind.

Earlier reports stated that a BSF air ambulance could be used to bring back Sarabjit Singh's body to Amritsar.

2.17 pm: Advani repeats claim that Manmohan Singh is India's 'weakest PM'

In the backdrop of Sarabjit Singh's death in Pakistan early on Thursday, BJP leader LK Advani has reiterated in a blog post that Manmohan Singh is the weakest Prime Minister  of India.

"I cannot forget that when in 2009, I had described Dr. Singh as the weakest Prime Minister the country has had some of my own colleagues felt that I was being too severe. But I still hold that it is this attribute of his – weakness - that makes him so subservient to 10, Janpath, and thus unable to avail of the authority innate in this office of Prime Ministership", read the blog post.

2.13 pm: Parliament passes resolution against brutal murder of Sarabjit Singh

Parliament today expressed shock at the death of Sarabjit Singh and condemned the "inhuman treatment" meted out to him in a Pakistan jail where he was brutally assaulted last week.

The issue resonated in both Houses, with Lok Sabha passing a resolution after two adjournments forced after members created an uproar and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans.

"This House expresses its deep sense of shock and sorrow on the sad demise of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian citizen in Jinnah Hospital, Lahore in Pakistan today after he was brutally assaulted by his fellow inmates in a Pakistan jail," said the resolution moved by Speaker Meira Kumar.

"This House condemns the inhuman treatment meted out to Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan jail and hopes that the culprits will be brought to book," said the resolution.

The House mourned the demise with members standing in silence for a while as a mark of respect to Sarabjit.

The issue was raised as soon as the House assembled for the day, with BJP members storming the Well raising anti-Pakistan slogans in protest against Sarabjit's death.

"Pakistan down down," they chanted.

Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP) was heard questioning as to why the House was not condemning Pakistan. The House witnessed two more adjournments on the issue as well as some other matters.

As the House met again at noon, the Speaker moved the resolution.

Rajya Sabha also saw members protesting the death of Sarabjit and condemning the murderous assault.

(PTI)

1.12 pm: Pakistan govt cooperating with us to bring Sarabjit home, says Khurshid

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that the Indian government was in touch with Pakistan at all appropriate levels, and were getting the necessary cooperation needed to bring Sarabjit Singh's body back to India.

"Whether it fulfils all our requirements will be seen later once the body is brought back. For now our concern is that the funeral should take place as quickly as possible", he said.

Speaking to the Times Now channel in Delhi, Khurshid added that Sarabjit's death was not an occasion for parties to try and score political points against each other. "I think we are more concerned about Sarabjit Singh and his family. We are more concerned about the mortal remains being brought back in India. If others want to try and score political points, they are welcome. But we will not be provoked into replying. We know what our duty is", he said.

1.15 pm: Manish Tewari cancels dinner for National Film Awardees as mark of respect for Sarabjit

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari who earlier slammed Pakistan's 'abject failure' in the matter of Sarabjit Singh, tweeted that he was canceling a dinner scheduled to honour winners at the National Film Awards.

Tewari also said that the Indian government had been repeatedly pursuing that a humanitarian view needed to be taken with Sarabjit Singh ever since 2005, when the Prime Minister of India had first brought it up with the Pakistan government.

12.39 pm: Pakistan orders judicial inquiry into Sarabjit's death

Pakistani authorities have ordered a judicial inquiry into Sarabjit's death, according to Times Now. The panel of judges is expected to be appointed shortly, and was announced after a lengthy meeting between the Indian High Commissioner and the Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister.

There is still no word what the official scope of the inquiry will be.

12:20 pm: Arun Jaitley slams UPA government's foreign policy

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha had harsh words for the UPA government over the handling of issues like Sarabjit's death and the Chinese incursion into Indian territory.

The Indian government should introspect over the strength of its foreign policy, Jaitley said.

He raised questions about what the government had done to tackle the Chinese incursion in Ladakh.

"Being clueless over the issue is not an option...There seems to be no reaction coming from this government," Jaitley said.

12:15 pm: Modi attacks UPA govt, says it is a weak govt

As he campaigns in Karnataka, Narendra Modi took the opportunity to take pot-shots at the central government saying there was  a need to put pressure on Pakistan for the release of Sarabjit but the government had instead left it to the family to fend for themselves.

"The Delhi government did not show any strength proving that we have a weak government in Delhi," Modi said

We do not have a neighbour who does not criticise us or act against us, the Chief Minister said.

"Till now the government has not said how the Chinese will be forced to retreat from the land that they have taken over," he said.

He questioned how the Indian population could feel safe with the UPA government in the Centre.

"If you want to feel secure about your future there is only one road and until we take that path we won't feel secure. That path is a Congress-free India and Karnataka," Modi said.

Referring to Rahul Gandhi as "Mr Golden Spoon", Modi said that if he truly followed Mahatma Gandhi's ideals he should follow his instruction of disbanding the Congress.

12:05 pm: Rahul Gandhi escort's Sarabjit's family to Delhi airport

After meeting with them earlier this morning, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi  has accompanied members of Sarabjit's family to the Delhi airport.

11:50 am: Plane ready to leave to get Sarabjit's body back

Government sources have told CNN-IBN that a plane is ready to go to Pakistan to bring back Sarabjit Singh's body to India in order to conduct the final rites.

The only thing awaited is for the body to be sent by Pakistani authorities to the Indian High Commission.
11:10 am: Rahul Gandhi meets with Sarabjit's family in Delhi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is reportedly meeting with Sarabjit Singh's family to convey his grief following the Indian's death in a Pakistani hospital today.

11:00 am: Did all we could for Sarabjit, will hand over body, says Pakistan

In a brief statement issued following the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh early this morning, the Pakistan Foreign office has said it will complete all formalities at the earliest and hand over the body to the Indian high commission.

"The Government of Pakistan, which had been providing all assistance to the family of Sarabjit Singh as well as to the Indian authorities since the occurrence of this unfortunate incident, will continue to facilitate for the early completion of all formalities and hand over the mortal remains of the prisoner to the Indian High Commission at the earliest possible," it stated in a release issued today.

The Foreign Office said that, while on the ventilator, Sarabjit Singh was provided the "best treatment available."

Read the complete statement here.

10.41 am: Today Sarbjit Singh has become a martyr, says sister Dalbir Kaur

An anguished and emotional Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit's sister told media that her brother had become a martyr. She also said that her brother had been dead even while he was in hospital in Lahore, and doctors and nurses had laughed at them.

"When we were almost in hysterics and we asked hospital authorities how Sarabjit is they laughed at us. Nurses, docs at Pak hospital laughed at us because they knew he was dead. Pakistan murdered him", she said.

Chanting "Murdabad Pakistan", Kaur said said she was appealing to all parties to come together to give Pakistan an 'appropriate answer'. "I appeal to all political parties to come together and support Manmohan Singh and Sushil Kumar Shinde. Earlier Pakistan stabbed Vajpayee's back and today they have stabbed Manmohan Singh. It's time to wage a war against Pakistan", she said.

"Whatever allegations were levelled against Sarabjit were because he was an Indian. I will go back to Pakistan and get justice", Kaur added.

Breaking down in tears while speaking to the media, Kaur said, "Pakistan is dishonest. I come from the land of Bhagat Singh. Pakistan cannot deceive me. I couldn't bring my brother back alive, I couldn't give my girls the happiness that they deserved"

10.31 am: Sarabjit's death has hurt relations between India and Pakistan, says Khurshid

Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid said that the government would do whatever it could to bring back the body of Sarabjit Singh, and said his thoughts and prayers with the family.

"A sustainable and long lasting relationship between two countries has to be between people. That relation has been hurt by what has happened today", he added.

Khurshid also said that they were extremely distressed by the death, and said that they would share the details of what has happened with Parliament.

10.22 am: Manish Tewari slams 'abject failure' of Pakistan government

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari strongly criticised Pakistan over the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, saying, "What happened was inhuman, barbaric and that is not the manner in which a civilised state treats prisoners in their custody".

"An Indian prisoner has been murdered in cold blood in the custody of the Pakistan state, and they must be held accountable", he added, calling the incident an 'abject failure of the Pakistan state'.

Tewari said that the Indian government had been repeatedly pursuing that a humanitarian view needed to be taken with Sarabjit Singh ever since 2005, when the Prime Minister of India had first brought it up with the Pakistan government.

"Our hearts, minds, are one with the family of Sarabjit Singh. We stand by them and will do everything we can to facilitate the return of his body", he added.

The Minister also said he hoped that today everyone would rise above political parties and condemn the barbaric death. However he took the time out to hit out at the BJP, saying that they were seeking to politicise even something as tragic as the brutal death of an Indian citizen who has been brutally murdered.

"I would like to respectfully ask the BJP what they did when they were in power. They are shedding crocodile tears now, but did not even lift a single little finger to even provide consular access to Sarabjit", he said.

"I am sorry to use such language, but it really violates me as an Indian citizen to see how they are playing politics with the death of a political prisoner", Tewari added.

9.49 am: I blame jail authorities for Sarabjit's death, says lawyer

Sarabjit Singh's lawyer Awais Shaikh, has condemned the 'heinous' death of Sarabjit Singh, saying that "One can never expect in a country in a civilised world that a prisoner could be brutally murdered like this".

Speaking to the Times Now television channel from Lahore, Mr Shaikh said that he had personally informed Pakistani jail authorities that Sarabjit was being threatened by a prisoner following the execution of Afzal Guru in India.

"After Afzal Guru's death, he called me and asked us to note down the name of a prisoner who was threatening him. I informed the jail authorities that he was under threat, but still they failed to protect him", he said.

Shaikh added that he felt Sarabjit had been killed by non-state actors who did not want Indo-Pak relations to develop, though he refused to elaborate on who he thought was responsible for the death. He added however that he hoped that Pakistan would make the inquiry report public.

"We apologise what happened to Sarabjit in our custody. No government wants this to happen. No government wants a bad name", he said.

"I have been associated with Sarabjit for the last 4 years. And I can tell you what a nice man he was", he added.

9.26 am: Punjab CM demands independent probe into Sarabjit's death

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today demanded an independent probe by an international agency into the circumstances leading to death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan.

Badal also criticised the Centre's approach towards the matter.

"Government of India too dithered and dilly-dallied in reacting to the attack on him (Sarabjit). Was enough done to save him? Steps by government of India to secure his release earlier were weak and totally inadequate," he said in a statement.

Badal also asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the highest diplomatic initiative to bring Sarabjit's body back to Punjab.

He said the Punjab government would give Sarabjit a state funeral.

Demanding that his body be brought back to India for a "dignified funeral", Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal promised government jobs to Sarabjit's dependents.

(PTI)

9.22 am: We were not consulted about removing Sarabjit from ventilator, says MEA

The MEA has reportedly said that they were not consulted about removing Sarabjit from life support. The Ministry has taken a strong stand in the wake of the death of the Indian prisoner, saying that it amounted to nothing less than the death of an Indian citizen while in the custody of Pakistani jail authorities.

The MEA have also made two demands from the Pakistan government - namely that Sarabjit's body be returned to India, and that a full investigation be conducted into his death.

9.06 am: Family of jailed Indian prisoner Kirpal Singh worry he will be targeted next

Following Sarabjit Singh's death, family members of other Indians in Pakistani jails are worried about the safety of their kin, reports CNN-IBN.

That includes the family of Kirpal Singh who is facing similar charges to Sarabjit. Kirpal, a resident of Gurdaspur, had crossed the border by mistake in 1992 while in an inebriated state, but was later senetenced to death for spying.

He was also lodged in the same block as Sarabjit at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. His family is worried that he will also be targeted, especially given that Indian prisoners Chamail Singh and Sarabjit Singh were both reportedly killed after India executed Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab.

8.55 pm: Pakistan to return body, say sources to CNN-IBN

CNN-IBN quoting sources has said that Pakistan will return Sarabjit's body to India after hospital procedures are fulfilled.

The channel also quoted Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Jilani as saying, "“This is something that is very unfortunate- the jail staff wasn’t vigilant. There is no doubts there were lapses. Action has been taken against several officials. We don’t think there was any conspiracy"

An official statement is expected shortly.

8.51 am: Protests in Jammu over Sarabjit's death

Initial reports suggest that there are a number of protests in Jammu over Sarabjit's death.

ANI had tweeted the following image:

8.47 am: Sarabjit's death has unmasked the Pakistani government, says BJP

The BJP has come out strongly against Sarabjit's death, saying that he was a martyr and adding that his death had unmasked the Pakistani government. "Sarabjit Singh's death has soured Indo-Pak ties", said BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain to the media.

Hussain also repeated calls for Sarabjit's body to be brought back to India. "We want his body to be brought back. He should be cremated with full honours", he said.

Meanwhile BJP leader Sushma Swaraj tweeted the following:

8.36 am: Pakistan lied to family. Sarabjit was already dead, says family friend

Raj Kumar Verka, Vice Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and a family friend of slain Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, said that Pakistan did not allow the family to visit Sarabjit in hospital because they did not want them to realise that he was already dead.

"The Pakistan government was doing drama by putting Sarabjit on ventilator. Pakistan fooled his family", he said.

Verka added that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said an inquiry would be conducted. "He said India will send special helicopter to get Sarabjit's body and that he would be cremated with full state honours", he said.

8.21 am: We pleaded for Sarabjit to the very last, says Shinde

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde speaking to the media after meeting the family of slain Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, said that all efforts were underway to ensure that his body was returned to India. "We are speaking to Pakistan authorities to send Sarabjit's body as soon as possible. The family can conduct last rights where they please", he said.

The Home Minister added that the government had been requesting Pakistan to pardon Sarabjt till the last moment. "We had told Pakistan that his was a case of mistaken identity", he added.

He also condoled with the family for their loss, and said that the government was "saddened" by the news.

8.17 am: Pakistan sets up medical team to conduct Sarabjit’s postmortem

A medical team is being constituted to conduct the postmortem examination of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh who died in a Lahore hospital Thursday, a media report said.

His body has been moved to the morgue.

Hospital sources said the postmortem examination would be conducted soon and a medical team is being constituted.

He suffered serious head injuries after being attacked by two prisoners at Kot Lakhpat jail on 26 April. He had been on ventilator support since then.

Sarabjit Singh had been on death row in Pakistan since 1990 after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan, which left 14 people dead.

8.06 am: We have asked Pakistan to return Sarabjit's body, says MEA

Spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, has said that MEA has asked Pakistan to return Sarabjit Singh's body to India. Speaking to media, Akbaruddin said that the government shared the pain and sorrow of Sarabjit's family, and urged Pakistan to bring his body back to India so that the last rites could be conducted.

The spokesman also tweeted the following statement:

 

The MEA has added that they would do their best to seek justice for the Indian prisoner. "We demand that the Govt of Pakistan should conduct a thorough investigation to identify those whose are guilty and punish them", a statement from them read.

8.00 am: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde visits Sarabjit's family

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has visited Sarabjit's family. He is expected to make a statement later.

7. 45 am: PM condoles Sarabjit's death, Modi demands truth

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled Srabjit Singh's death saying that he is 'deeply saddened' by the news. "The criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on Sarabjit Singh must be brought to justice. I regret that Pakistan did not heed pleas of India and Sarabjit's family for taking a humanitarian view in this case.," read the PM's statement.

He added that the government would make arrangements to bring home remains of Sarabjit and conduct his last rights, says PM.

Meanwhile, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, said that the government has misled the people on Sarabjit issue and they must come out with the truth now.

Centre is unable to give a strong answer to Pakistan's inhuman acts. Beheading of our soldiers & now Sarabjit's death are 2 recent examples.

 

7. 30 pm: Pak did not inform Sarabjit's family about his death

Sarabjit's family said they first learnt of his death in a Lahore hospital through a media report. Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, told Geo TV that the family had not been officially informed about his death at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore.

7. 20 am: "India must put pressure on Pakistan, " says SAD leader

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral in Punjab said that he will take up the issue with the Union government and ask them to put pressure on Pakistan.

"This is a violation of human rights, international treaties. This is unacceptable. We must bring pressure on Pakistan to ensure that Sarabjit's body is handed over to the family," he said.

Gujral promised to help Sarabjit's family in all possible way.

7. 15 am: Declare Sarabjit Singh a martyr, demand Sarabjit's family

Sarabjit Singh’s family has demanded that his body be handed over to them and that he be declared a “martyr”.

PTI

PTI

In an appeal to the Union Home Ministry, the family demanded that Sarabjit Singh’s body be cremated with full state honours, according to Raj Kumar Verka, Vice Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. They have also demanded that the Centre take full responsibility of the family, Verka said.

The government will hold a meeting on Thursday to consider these demands, he added.

Verka said that Sarabjit Singh’s family members, who were now in New Delhi, were in a state of shock after receiving news of his death. He said he had forwarded the demands to the Union Home Ministry and was in touch with Central leaders, including Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

6: 30 am: Sarabjit Singh dies at Pakistan's Jinnah hospital

Sarabjit Singh, the Indian death row prisoner in Pakistan, died in a Lahore hospital early on Thursday of injuries sustained in an assault by inmates of a high-security jail, officials said.

“I received a call from the doctor on duty (at Jinnah Hospital) at 1 am (1.30 am IST) informing me that Sarabjit is no more,” Mahmood Shaukat, the head of a medical board that was supervising Sarabjit Singh‘s treatment, told PTI.

Officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad said they had been informed by officials of Jinnah Hospital about Sarabjit Singh’s death.

Shaukat said that authorities were yet to decide on conducting an autopsy of Sarabjit Singh’s body. Asked if the government’s permission would be required to conduct  an autopsy, he said: “At the moment I have no idea.”

No decision had been made about handing over the body to Sarabjit Singh’s relatives or to Indian authorities, he said. ”These matters will be worked out according to the directions from the government,” he said.

On Wednesday, official sources in Lahore had said that Sarabjit Singh had slipped into a “non-reversible” coma and this could lead to “brain death”. His reading on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which indicates the levels of consciousness and damage to a person’s central nervous system, had dropped to a “critical level”, the sources said.

Sarabjit Singh’s heart was beating “but without brain function” because of the extensive head injuries he sustained when he was assaulted on Friday, a source had said. Sarabjit Singh had at that time been completely unresponsive and unable to breathe without ventilator support, the source had added.

Sarabjit Singh, 49, sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull, when at least six prisoners attacked him in the barracks at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday afternoon . He was hit on the head with bricks and had been comatose in hospital since then.

Police have booked two death row prisoners – Amer Aftaband Mudassar – for the attack. They reportedly told investigators that they had attacked Sarabjit Singh because he had allegedly carried out bomb attacks in Lahore.

No action has been taken so far against jail officials for failing to provide adequate security to Sarabjit Singh.

Sarabjit Singh had been convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990, and  had spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons. His mercy petitions had been rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

In 2008, the Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit Singh’s execution for an indefinite period.

Sarabjit Singh’s family says he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an
inebriated state.

Sarabjit Singh’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur and sister Dalbir Kaur, who went to Lahore on Tuesday to see him, have returned to India.

Following the rapid deterioration in Sarabjit Singh’s condition, New Delhi had requested that he be immediately released so that he could be treated in India or a third country. Pakistan had said it was “positively considering” the request to repatriate him.

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