Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay died on Thursday after fighting for his life for six days — almost the same number of days Sarabjit Singh had lingered on in a Lahore jail.
Sanaullah, who suffered head injuries in an assault by a fellow inmate at Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal jail, died at PGIMER Chandigarh of multi-organ failure at 6.56am. After an autopsy, the body was handed over to Pakistan high commission officers and the prisoner’s brother-in-law and nephew. They left on a Pakistan International Airlines plane at 6.30pm.
Vinod Singh Bisht, who had attacked Sanaullah on May 3, was booked for murder. He is serving a life sentence for murder and under law, if a life convict commits another murder, he is to be awarded the death penalty.
“Although it’s scant consolation, I’d like to offer a sincere apology to the family,” J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted. “While the inquiry will fix responsibility for any dereliction of duty, the fact that this (is) happening at all is a matter of great regret.”
The development has further strained ties with Pakistan. “The brutal manner in which Sanaullah was attacked in jail is a matter of deep concern,” a Pakistan foreign ministry statement said.
Islamabad asked New Delhi to ensure the safety of all its prisoners in India. “We have also requested an international inquiry,” Pakistan mission spokesperson Manzoor Ali Memon said.
But India rejected this request, suggesting the two work things out bilaterally. “Both sides need to take stock of the measures currently in place for the safety and humane treatment of prisoners,” an MEA spokesperson said.
Two Indian prisoners, Chamel Singh and Sarabjit Singh, were killed in Lahore this year. Sanaullah was attacked a day after Sarabjit’s death in a supposedly retaliatory act.