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Indian national's death in Pakistan: Rights activists' demand action against authorities

ANI  Amritsar, January 24, 2013
First Published: 14:02 IST(24/1/2013) | Last Updated: 19:16 IST(24/1/2013)

Human rights activists in Pakistan, and particularly in Lahore, are demanding action against jail authorities for the merciless thrashing and subsequent death in hospital of an Indian national.

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Chhamel Singh, aged 40, died in Lahore's Jinnah Hospital after being mercilessly thrashed  by authorities in the city's Kot Lakhpat Rai Jail.

According to reports, Chhamel Singh was beaten up following a small tiff related to the washing of clothes under a water tap inside the jail.

Human rights activists in Pakistan have accused the jail authorities of violating the basic rights of jail inmates.

The incident occurred on January 15. Chhamel Singh was washing his clothes under a water tap to which jail staffers objected.

They reportedly made derogatory remarks against Indian nationals, saying they were dirty and spread dirt in the jail also.

When Chhamel Singh objected to this racial remark, he was mercilessly thrashed and later died in  hospital, said Tehseen Khan, a human right activist who is heading an NGO called Jesus Rescues.

Khan said he witnessed the incident in the jail, as he was teaching inmates as part of the ongoing reforms process.

Lahore's largest jail houses many Indian nationals, including Sarabjit Singh, who has been lodged their for the last 21 years.

"I saw the whole scene myself. It was tragic. Chhamel was thrashed mercilessly and then taken to hospital. Action must be taken against the erring officials," said Khan.

Meanwhile, Indian inmates have expressed their resentment against the jail authorities. They have refused to succumb to the pressure tactics of the authorities to give in writing that Chhamel Singh was not thrashed, but had severely injured himself after following down from a height inside the premises.

"The authorities are trying every effort to distort facts and are pressurising other jail inmates for not speaking out," said Khan.

Khan while talking to ANI from Lahore informed that Chhamel Singh was the son of Rasal Singh, a resident of Village Pragwal Khalke in Jammu District, and was lodged in the Kot Lakhpat Jail for last two years for crossing the border into Pakistan illegally.

He was sentenced to a five-year-jail term, he added.

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