Indian prisoner in Pak jail dead after being 'beaten mercilessly'

Jailed

An Indian national, who was about to complete his five-year imprisonment on charges of espionage, has died in a Pakistani jail, amid reports that he was "mercilessly beaten" by prison staff two days before his death.

Media reports quoted a Pakistani lawyer named Tehseen Khan, who was recently released from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, as saying that he had seen prison staff assault Chamel Singh for using water from a tap to wash clothes on January 15 and that the Indian national died two days later at Jinnah Hospital.

However, officials of the Indian High Commission said they had been formally informed by Pakistani authorities that Singh had died in Lahore on January 15.

A note verbale on the matter did not mention the cause of Singh's death.

Khan further alleged that Singh was "mercilessly beaten" by jail staff, who made "racial remarks against Indians and minorities."

He claimed other Indians in Kot Lakhpat jail, including death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, faced a "grave threat."

The Pakistani authorities had asked the Indian side to inform Chamel Singh's family of his death, Indian officials said.

The information was conveyed to the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi and authorities were awaiting a response from Singh's family on whether his body should be sent back to India or the last rites be performed in Pakistan.

The Indian officials said they had no information on Singh being allegedly beaten up in the jail. Singh's body is currently in the mortuary of a state-run hospital in Lahore.

Singh, a resident of Pragwal in Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested and convicted for espionage in Pakistan in 2008. His family contended he was not involved in spying and had gone missing from his fields on the border with Pakistan in July 2008.

Indian officials said the age given for Singh in media reports, which described him as 40-year-old, was wrong but other particulars were accurate. They, however, did not provide the correct age.

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