Scot ‘tortured by Indian police’ remains in custody

Jagtar Singh Johal. Picture: Contributed.
Jagtar Singh Johal. Picture: Contributed.

THE Scot allegedly tortured in jail by Indian police remains in custody in Punjab.

Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, has reportedly appeared at a duty magistrates court in Ludhiana.

Supporters say the 30-year-old has been remanded in custody for an additional four days.

The Sikh Federation UK say no official charges have been brought against Mr Johal, but local media reported his arrest was linked to the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab.

The federation briefed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn about Mr Johal’s case on Thursday night as he made his way to a rally in Birmingham.

READ MORE: Scot forced into back of van and held in India

A spokesman for the Sikh Federation said: “He expressed his disquiet with the method of abduction, the lack of access to lawyers, British consular staff and family for the first 10 days, Jagtar’s allegations of third degree torture, the fact he remains in police custody rather than judicial custody and the refusal to grant an independent medical examination.”

Mr Corbyn promised to discuss the matter with Preet Kaur Gill, the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs and Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and to try and meet Mr Johal’s family and campaigners early next week.

READ MORE: Scot arrested in India being tortured by police, say campaigners

Three members of the British High Commission, including Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Ayre attended Mr Johal’s court hearing on Friday.

His lawyer said he “pleaded his innocence” and stated he was unrelated to any of the crimes he is being linked with.

He also said: “The court gave the British High Commission team a copy of the directions issued to the police to arrange for a meeting between the High Commission delegation and Jagtar Singh in a separate room for privacy.

“The copy of the order was also given to Assistant Commissioner of Police Maninder Singh Bedi.”

Mr Johal was taken into custody by Ludhiana police after the hearing.

Foreign Minster, Mark Field is expected to meet Mr Johal’s brother as well as West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes and Sikh representatives on Monday.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Our consular staff in New Delhi have visited a British man who has been detained in Punjab. We have met his family to update them, and have confirmed that he now has access to his lawyer.’

She added: “We take all allegations or concerns of torture and mistreatment very seriously and will follow up with action as appropriate.

“When considering how to act, we will avoid any action that might put the individual in question or any other person that may be affected at risk.”