Family seeks Kejriwal’s help to get prisoner’s body from Pakistan

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Three days after he suffered a mysterious death in a Pakistani jail, Indian prisoner Kirpal Singh’s anguished sister met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking his help to get his body back at the earliest.

A day after she made a similar plea to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Jagir Kaur called on Kejriwal at his residence and urged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief’s help in seeking a probe into the death of her brother who was in the Kot Lakhpat Jail of Lahore for the last nearly 25 years.

She said she suspected foul play and cast doubts over Pakistani claims that her brother died of cardiac arrest, a Delhi government official said.

The official said Kejriwal expressed sympathies with Jagir Kaur’s family and assured “all possible support in securing justice” and an early repatriation of his body.

Jagir Kaur was accompanied by Dalbir Kaur, the elder sister of another Indian, Sarabjit Singh, who also died in the same Pakistani jail in 2013, allegedly after being beaten up by some Pakistani prisoners.

Kirpal Singh, 54, a resident of Gurdaspur in Punjab, was reported to have died on Monday. His body was shifted to the Jinnah Hospital a day later for autopsy.

But it was still lying in the morgue on Thursday. The delay in the post-mortem examination has raised doubts in India whether the prisoner indeed died of heart failure.

Kirpal Singh was arrested in 1992. Pakistan claimed he was caught spying for India, an allegation New Delhi denies. India has been insisting that Kirpal Singh had strayed across the border between the two countries.

India has already sought more details on how the prisoner died suddenly.

“Our acting high commissioner met the director-general (South Asia) in (Pakistan’s) ministry of foreign affairs and asked for the earliest possible repatriation of mortal remains (of Kirpal Singh),” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Wednesday. “We await further details.”

On Wednesday evening, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Kirpal Singh’s family and informed them that the government was making efforts to get his mortal remains back as early as possible.

“Comforting a family in grief,” Swarup tweeted, regarding the minister’s meeting with Kirpal Singh’s kin.

Kirpal Singh’s family earlier staged a protest demonstration at the Attari-Wagah border, raising anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding his body be returned for his last rites and cremation in his homeland.

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