A day after being viciously attacked by fellow inmates in the Lahore jail, Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh continued to be in deep coma and on ventilator support, with his family set travel to Pakistan on Sunday to join him after being granted urgent visas.
Sarabjit Singh, who has been on death row for over a decade, was attacked by prisoners with bricks and sharp instruments, and was taken to the Jinnah hospital with head and neck injuries.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the incident a “very sad development”. “Yes, it is very sad, some inmates attacked him in jail. I think that is a very sad development,” Singh said.
At 2 am on Saturday, two officials from the Indian high commission reached the hospital, where Sarabjit is being treated in the ICU under high security.
Later in the evening, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said four members of Sarabjit’s family had been granted visas to travel to Lahore. Sarabjit’s sister, Dalbir Kaur said four family members, including the prisoner’s wife and two daughters, would leave for Pakistan on Sunday morning through the Wagah crossing.
“We want to be with Sarabjit in this difficult time. He is all alone. We don’t even know what his condition is. We are getting reports only through news channels and his lawyer,” said Dalbir.
Vice Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes Raj Kumar Verka flew in with passports for Sarabjit’s family to New Delhi to get the visas stamped from the Pakistan high commission. “This attack is a conspiracy. My brother has been threatened since Afzal guru was hanged. We had raised the issue with Indian government too. But nothing was done,” she said.
A case was lodged against two prisoners — Amer Aftab and Muhammad Mudassar — for attacking Sarabjit, based on a complaint from the Lahore jail. They were booked under sections for murder attempt and causing severe injuries under Pakistan Penal code.