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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Now, Kirpal Singh's family fears for his life

Shaheen P Parshad, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, May 02, 2013
First Published: 18:49 IST(2/5/2013) | Last Updated: 18:50 IST(2/5/2013)

Following the death of Sarabjit Singh in a brutal attack by some of the inmates of Kot Lakhpat Rai jail in Lahore, the family of Kirpal Singh, another Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan, fears for his life and has demanded that he be repatriated at the earliest.

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The reports of the horrible conditions prevailing at Kot Lakhpat Rai jail and the adverse treatment meted out to the inmates, that have reached them though Kirpal's letter, have only added to their apprehensions for his safety.

In the wake of Sarabjit's death, Kirpal's kin were frequented by neighbours and well-wishers, who wanted to enquire about his well-being.

Kirpal hails from Mustafabad Saidan village in Gurdaspur and crossed over inadvertently into the Pakistani territory in an inebriated state in 1991. "He has been languishing in jail in Pakistan since then," said Jagir Kaur, elder sister of Kirpal. "It is high time he was sent back home, else he might end up suffering the same fate as that of Sarabjit," she added.

She maintained that Kirpal, who had previously served in the army, was the youngest in the family of seven siblings, comprising four brothers and three sisters. "Our parents Dasram and Bavi Devi, two brothers and a sister died while waiting for him to return. Kirpal's wife divorced him and he has no children," she maintained.

Sources said Kirpal was convicted by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore. They said a Pakistani court had given him a clean chit in cases of bomb blasts and destruction of property in 2005, but had upheld the case of spying.

Ashwani Kumar, nephew of Kirpal Singh, said there were chances that his uncle could be attacked as well.

"He was with Sarabjit for some time in Kot Lakhpat jail, so there is a possibility of his being attacked too, which we do not want," he said. He added that from the letters that he had written home, the family had judged that already Kirpal was not keeping well. "He complained of failing health and eyesight, torture and of being threatened with bodily harm as well," he said.

Ashwani maintained that during a recent telephonic conversation, Kirpal had said that he did not have sufficient money to fulfil his daily needs. "We appeal to the Governments of India and Pakistan to ensure adequate security for him during his stay in jail in Pakistan and immediate measures for his release and repatriation," he said.

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