Sarabjit's family returns, accuses govt of not doing enough
The family of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, battling for life in Pakistan, returned to India today saying that they were dissatisfied with the way he was being treated and had been kept in the dark about his health.india Updated: May 01, 2013 18:41 IST
Returning from Pakistan, Sarabjit Singh's family on Wednesday accused the government of doing little for the death-row prisoner battling for his life after a brutal assault and said they would go to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister and top leaders.
The family, which crossed over to India after meeting 49-year-old Sarabjit, who is comatose in a Lahore hospital after the past week's attack in jail, said his life can be saved if the Indian government puts pressure on Pakistan to shift him to India or abroad for better treatment.
The family will travel to Delhi and meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to urge them to help save Sarabjit's life by taking necessary steps.
"I will tell the Prime Minister with folded hands that I have doubts about the treatment being given to Sarabjit in Pakistan," Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur told reporters here.
"I am disappointed with the government. The Prime Minister should resign as he is not able to bring back an Indian citizen. You failed to protect your citizen. They (Pakistan) got freed (Pakistani citizen Dr Khalil) Chishti and you (India) released their other prisoners," she said.
Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur, daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur and sister Dalbir crossed over into India from Lahore through land border. The family had gone to Pakistan on a 15-day visa on Sunday, two days after Sarabjit was attacked in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.
Dalbir demanded that Sarabjit be brought to India immediately and given proper treatment. She said she has undertaken a fast from Wednesday and will not eat food until her brother is given the best treatment.
Claiming that if he receives the right treatment he will be able to give an account of what happened to him in Pakistan prison, she said the assertion that Sarabjit is brain dead is wrong as he can move one of his hands and right eye and that his body is warm.
"I want the government to immediately step in. I want to bring him back. If Malala (Yousafzai) can be treated abroad, why not my brother. I have doubts about the treatment they are giving to him, but I have full confidence in the doctors back home," Kaur said.
Kaur said the family was not given a correct update on Sarabjit's condition. "The doctors never consulted me. Whenever I asked for Sarabjit's reports, they used to get angry. Doctors repeatedly told me not to argue," she said.
Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur said she wants to tell the Prime Minister and the Congress chief that the Indian government can save her husband.
"My husband is in this state as the government did not take any action. If the government does not pay attention, if they don't think the person belongs to India, then they have hurt not only us but India. They should bring back my husband," she said.
One of Sarabjit's daughters demanded that her father be brought back. "There was no cooperation from the Pakistani side," she alleged.
Dalbir Kaur also said that she was tipped off about threats to her life in Pakistan.
"I was told by the forces there that in Pakistan I face a threat. I told them that I will leave these children (Sarabjit's children) and then come back," she said.
To another question, she said if the Indian government's intentions are honest, they can put pressure on Pakistan and bring back Sarabjit.
A team of Indian doctors accompanied by high ranking Indian officials should be sent to Pakistan, she added.
Kaur said that the attack on Sarabjit could be linked with the polls in Pakistan and that the attack was carried out to benefit some political outfits.
On investigations being carried out by the Pakistan government, Dalbir described it as a "mere eye wash" and said, "so far the government has not suspended any of the officers accountable for the attack and neither have they arrested any of the six prisoners who attacked Sarabjit"
Kaur also said that Pakistan failed to provide security to Sarabjit inside jail despite threats to his life.
"Our government had spent Rs 54 crore to ensure (Mumbai terror attack convict) Ajmal Kasab's security, but the way Sarabjit was attacked by six persons, though they take names of only two, shows conspiracy in the entire incident. We also want to know where have the other four attackers gone missing."
Sarabjit's daughter Swapandeep Kaur said that it was unfortunate that they had to go and meet him in this condition. "I have hope that papa will get better if the right treatment is given to him. But we have no faith in the treatment given by Pakistani doctors," she said.
National Commission for Schedule Castes' Vice Chairman Raj Kumar Verka, who received the family at Attari border, said that the family would leave for Delhi in the evening by the Shatabdi Express.
Efforts will be made to fix an appointment for the family with Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister, the President and the Union Minister for External Affairs to discuss the further course of action to save Sarabjit, he said.
Sarabjit, 49, suffered critical head injuries in an unprovoked and sudden assault by four to five prisoners with bricks and plates in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison April 26. He has been on ventilator life support since.
He has been on death row in Pakistan since 1990 after being convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan, which left 14 people dead.
Sarabjit's family claims he is innocent, and was arrested when he crossed over to Pakistan in an inebriated state.
Police in Pakistan, however, claimed that Sarabjit Singh, known as Manjit Singh, was involved in terrorist strikes.
First Published: May 01, 2013 13:57 IST