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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

India to send special plane to Pak to bring back Sarabjit's body

PTI  New Delhi, May 02, 2013
First Published: 13:56 IST(2/5/2013) | Last Updated: 13:59 IST(2/5/2013)

India will send a special plane to Lahore to bring back the body of Sarabjit Singh, who died in a Pakistani hospital after being comatose for nearly a week.

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"A plane will go to Lahore to bring back the mortal remains of Sarabjit Singh," home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters in New Delhi.

The announcement came after Pakistan said that Sarabjit's body will be handed over to Indian authorities after "the early completion of all formalities".

Shinde, however, did not specify when the plane will fly to Lahore.

The home minister said New Delhi had tried its best to convince Islamabad to hand over the Indian who had been languishing in Pakistani jail for more than two decades.

"We have tried our level best. We tried at the Prime Minister's level, the external affairs ministry tried and I also personally took up his case with Pakistan's interior minister. But unfortunately we could not succeed," he said.

On the possibility of government declaring Sarabjit as a martyr, as demanded by his family, the home minister said it was not right time to talk on the issue.

49-year-old Sarabjit, who was brutally attacked in a high-security Lahore jail by fellow inmates on Friday, succumbed to his injuries early on Thursday.

He was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Pakistan's Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

His family always insisted Sarabjit was innocent and he had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

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