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India asks Pak for full report on Chamel Singh's death

March 30, 2013 20:19 IST

India has asked Pakistan to provide a "full report" about the circumstances surrounding the death of Chamel Singh, an Indian prisoner, in a Pakistani jail and a copy of the post-mortem report.

According to official sources, the Indian High Commission, which continues to press the Pakistan authorities for a copy of the post-mortem report, has asked for the same on March 27 when an official from the mission met the officials of ministry of foreign affairs in Islamabad.

India has also conveyed its concern to Pakistani authorities over the unnecessary delay in providing details of post-mortem and other details, they said.

On March 13, the Pakistan authorities conducted the autopsy in Lahore and handed over the mortal remains of Singh the same day, the sources said, adding Indian high commission officials received his body on March 13 itself and immediately transported it to the Attari International Check Post where it was handed over to members of his family in the presence of representatives of Jammu and Kashmir government.

On the statement by Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson that an Indian official was present during the post-mortem, the sources said, "No official from the high commission was present during the autopsy. An autopsy is a specialised medical procedure where members of a diplomatic mission cannot have any role. Indian officials in Islamabad have not been present in any such autopsy either in this case or any other time in the past."

They also criticised Pakistan for delaying the post-mortem of Chamel Singh, saying "there is no explanation why the Pakistan authorities took almost two months to conduct the autopsy and hand over the body."

Giving the chronology of events since Singh's death, the sources said Pakistani authorities informed the Indian mission about the death of Singh on January 17 two days after his death.

"In its first intimation, the Pakistan authorities did not specify the cause of death. As per procedure, the mission requested that the body be handed over at the earliest. However, subsequently, around the last week of January following several local media reports that Singh had been mercilessly beaten by the jail authorities, the high commission made a demarche (i.e. January 26) to the Pakistan authorities to provide a full report about the circumstances surrounding his death and a copy of the post mortem report. Several reminders were sent thereafter."

The sources also added "the high commission continues to press the Pakistan authorities for a copy of the post-mortem report. The last such effort was made on 27 March 2013".

Singh died in mysterious conditions in a Pakistani jail. The preliminary report states that traces of four injuries were found on the body, including a fracture of the right knee, an abrasion of 1.5 cm to 2 cm on the left knee joint, an abrasion over the upper lip and scars on the thigh.

Singh, said to be in his sixties, was declared dead on arrival by doctors at the state-run Jinnah Hospital. He was serving a five-year prison term at Kot Lakhpat Jail for his alleged involvement in espionage.

Tehseen Khan, a Christian lawyer who recently completed a 42-month sentence for fraud at Kot Lakhpat Jail, claimed Singh died after being beaten by prison staff.

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