Sarabjit Singh in 'deep coma', family set to go to Pakistan today

FPMembers of Sarabjitís family in Amritsar on Saturday

A day after being attacked by fellow inmates, Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh was in "deep coma" and had been put on ventilator support, officials said Saturday. Four members of his family are set to travel to Pakistan tomorrow.

The Pakistani high commission in Delhi said "gratis" (free of charge) visas had been granted to Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur, his daughters Poonam and Swapandeep Kaur, and his wife Sukhpreet Kaur.

Saying they would cross the Attari border tomorrow, Dalbir Kaur said government officials had informed her that the Pakistani government would allow one family member to stay in the Lahore hospital where Sarabjit is being treated.

Sarabjit, 49, who was rushed to Lahore's Jinnah hospital on Friday night, cannot be operated upon till his condition stabilises, doctors attending to him said.

In the first official statement from the Pakistani government on the incident, its foreign office said, "As a result of a scuffle between prisoners at the Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, yesterday, Sarabjit suffered head injuries which rendered him unconscious. Doctors and medical staff at the hospital are working round-the-clock to revive the prisoner, who remains unconscious and on a ventilator."

Sarabjit in 'deep coma', family set to go to Pakistan today

Manmohan Singh said: "It is very sad, some inmates attacked him in jail. I think that is a very sad development."

Singh was hit on the head with bricks, and his neck and torso cut with blades and pieces of a ghee tin. The Lahore police have registered a case of attempted murder against two prisoners, Amer Aftab and Mudassar, both on death row. The duo have been booked under Sections 324 (attempted murder) and 334 (causing severe injuries) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Sources quoted doctors at Jinnah Hospital as saying that Sarabjit's condition was measured as 5 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which indicates the level of damage or injury to a person's central nervous system. The GCS comprises tests of eye, verbal and motor responses. The lowest possible GCS score is 3 while the highest is 15.

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