My body will reach home, Indian on death row tells wife
JALANDHAR( PUNJAB): Gurdip Singh, the Indian man facing execution with 13 others in an Indonesian prison, appeared to have given up hope when he called his wife on Thursday, despite the Indian government’s efforts to save his life.
“I will not be able to come back now. My body will come. Be strong,” Singh told his wife Kulwinder Kaur, a resident of Mehatpur town in Jalandhar district, during the call at 5.30am.
Singh, 48, was found guilty of trying to smuggle 300gm of heroin into Indonesia in 2004 and sentenced to death by a state district court in Banten province in February 2005. His appeals against the death penalty were turned down by Banten high court and the Supreme Court.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj telephoned Kaur, 41, on Thursday and assured her the Indian government is doing its best to halt the execution.
“She said she has taken up the matter with the Indonesian government and a delegation of Indian officials has already gone there. She told us to pray too,” Kaur told Hindustan Times at her parents’ home in Mehatpur. Kaur said she had requested the minister during the 10-minute call to do everything possible at the earliest.
Singh, who worked as a driver, and his family belong to Sitalpur in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh but Kaur and her two children have been staying in Mehatpur. Singh wanted to go to New Zealand in 2002 to seek employment as a driver but got stuck in Indonesia “as his agent cheated him”, Kaur said.
According to Kaur, Singh was arrested in 2004 as the agent, who belongs to Uttar Pradesh, did not give him back his passport and then “made him do the crime”. She also blamed an unnamed “Pakistani agent” for his imprisonment. Singh had earlier worked as a driver in Libya for three years.
The couple has two children – daughter Manjot Kaur, 17, and son Sukhbir Singh, 14 – and the son has never met his father as he was born after Singh left home to go to New Zealand via Southeast Asia.
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- Sasikala was a close associate of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, late J Jayalalithaa.