Jagtar Johal’s ‘torture’ raised in UK Parliament
The UK government has said it would take “extreme action” if any British citizen is being tortured as the case of a Scottish-born man, who has been jailed in India, was raised in the House of Commons.
Jagtar Singh Johal, 30, from Dunbarton in Scotland has been in a Punjab jail since he was arrested earlier this month by the state’s police for his alleged role in targeted killings in the state. Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes of the Scottish National Party (SNP) asked the UK Foreign Office what representations were being made to the Indian government on reports of his alleged “torture” in custody. The Scottish-born Sikh was in Jalandhar with his family for his wedding last month when he was reportedly arrested by plainclothes police officials in the city.
“We take any allegation of torture very seriously, as indeed would the Indian government,” foreign office minister Rory Stewart told Docherty-Hughes.
“It is completely unconstitutional, it is offensive to the British government and we will work very closely to investigate and, of course, we will take extreme action if a British citizen is being tortured,” he said.
The minister of state in the Foreign Office stressed that the issue was being taken “very seriously” and that the deputy high commissioner of the UK had managed to gain access to hold a meeting with Johal.
“I am aware of the concern that has been expressed about Jagtar Singh Johal. Representatives from the Foreign Office have met with him and are pursuing the case and looking at this case and watching what is happening with concern and will take action necessary,” she said.
Johal’s MP, Docherty-Hughes, has been campaigning for his freedom and has also written to Downing Street seeking a meeting for his UK-based family with the Prime Minister.