The relatives of 17 Indians, on death row in UAE, today stepped up efforts to save their dear ones from the gallows by seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Muslim religious leaders.
Holding photographs of their dear ones - some as small as passport-size - they put across their side of the story at a press conference by Lok Bhalai Party chief BS Ramoowalia.
Expressing concern over the sentence to the Indians for allegedly killing a Pakistani and injuring three others in a fight over illegal alcohol business, Ramoowalia sought the intervention of Prime Minister Singh.
He said he would soon visit Delhi and also go to various Sufi shrines and gurudwaras. "Apart from meeting the Prime Minister, I will also meet renowned Muslim religious leaders to seek their intervention in the case," he said.
Ramoowalia said a delegation of his party would soon go to UAE to monitor the case and he would consult top lawyers and experts of Shariah law, so that an appeal could be drafted to save the youths.
"Our Dubai mission needs to be directed to provide free legal assistance to the sentenced persons, who have no means to defend themselves," he suggested.
"The death sentence, if I may say so, is not on account of any act of treason or any attempt to overthrow the UAE government or committing religious blasphemy, but it is a routine law and order incident for which this sentence is highly harsh," Ramoowalia said in a letter addressed to Singh.
"The government should take prompt action before the stipulated period of 15 days for filing an appeal in the case," he said.
"All aspects of this sensitive issue should be minutely examined by the Law Ministry or Attorney General of India and the appeal should be filed through diplomatic channels. Besides the issue should be taken up with UAE's head of state," he said.
The relatives said that their kin have been framed.
"My brother had gone to Dubai just 40 days back. He was arrested while sleeping in his house," said Sukhwinder Singh about Baljeet, who is among the 17 Indians on death row.
Arvinder's father Balraj Singh said his son to Dubai two years ago and was working as a driver. "He was to about return when he was arrested from the airport," Balraj said.
Ranjit Kaur came to know about the sentence given to her husband Dharam Pal from newspapers. "My husband went to Dubai more than two years ago in search of job and had given Rs one lakh to travel agent by selling our tractor trolley."
Jaspreet Singh was with his brother Kuldeep Singh in Dubai and had recently returned home. "I came to know about the sentence only from a friend of Kuldeep's in that country," said Jaspreet who hails from Moga.