Jailed Indian Youths Convert to Islam to Escape Torture…

published on February 18, 2011

Muslim names come in way of release Punjabi youths in Pak jail


 AMRITSAR: To save themselves from torture two Punjabi youths embraced Islam in Pakistan’s Kot Lakhpat jail, but in the process they lost their real identity, which is now proving a major stumbling block in their release from the jail as Pakistan government has refused to acknowledge their very presence in their country even as another Punjabi inmate of the jail, who was released in 2008 by Pakistan, claims to have met both in jail.

Gurmit Singh of village Karnana in Nawanshahr district and Harpreet Singh of Possi village in Garhshankar tehsil of Hoshiarpur district are lodged in the mental ward of Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, since 2004 and 2005, respectively, informed advocate Ajay Kumar Virmani, who has taken up their case with Pakistan Human Rights Organization (PHRO) and is going to file a writ petition in Lahore High Court seeking the release of both Indian boys.

‘The most unfortunate part is that the boys had embraced Islam and now Pakistan government doesn’t verify their antecedents,’he said.

He informed that Bhupinder Kumar of Landra village in Jalandhar district, who was set free by Pakistan in the year 2008, had confirmed having met Gurmit and Harpreet in the jail. ‘He had claimed that both of them were in the mental ward of the hospital in Kot Lakhpat Jail,’ said Virmani.

Sohan Singh, father of Gurmit, in a letter written to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad said that his son had gone to Lebanon in 2002 and was arrested by Turkish army in 2004, when he attempted to go to Greece via Iran and Turkey. He was deported to Iran. ‘I think Gurmit might have attempted to return to India via Pakistan border touching Iran and was arrested,’ he said, adding that his son was in the mental ward of the hospital in the jail along with Harpreet Singh who was also arrested in Pakistan in the year 2005.

Virmani said he had asked the PHRO to identify both the boys so they could be released from the jail. ‘If Pak government didn’t agree to their existence, I will have to take Bhupinder Kumar to the jail for physical verification of both Gurmit and Harpreet,’ he remarked.

Intelligence sources informed that many youths develop various psychological problems, due to the torture meted out to them and they lose their mental balance.

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