THE World Sikh Organization of Canada on Wednesday expressed its deep concern at emerging reports about the treatment received by Jagtar Singh Johal, a UK resident, upon his arrest by the Indian state police in Punjab.
Johal, 30, a resident of Dumbarton, UK, was allegedly abducted by plainclothes officers of the Punjab Police on November 4 while shopping with his wife. He was forced into a van after having a black hood placed over his head. Johal has not been charged with any crime but remains in police remand. It is believed that his arrest is connected to his activities on social media highlighting the Sikh genocide and the running of a website.
Despite being a UK citizen, Johal was denied access to a lawyer or consular services during the first days of his incarceration. He has told his lawyer that for the first three days he was subjected to torture such as electrical shocks and ‘body separation techniques’.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “We are alarmed by the treatment received by Jagtar Singh Johal in Indian custody. Mr. Johal, who is born and raised in the UK, had initially been denied consular services and access to a lawyer. Furthermore, it is unacceptable that he has allegedly been subjected to torture in custody. We had seen these kinds of abductions and arrests during the 80s and 90s but it is shocking that they continue today. The Indian state police are well known for their resort to torture during interrogations and those accused of crimes are often held in custody pending trial for periods longer than would be imposed upon an actual conviction. The alleged ‘crimes’ Mr. Johal is accused of such as running a website and printing a magazine about the Sikh genocide do not appear to be crimes at all. If the Indian authorities have actual evidence of wrongdoing against Mr. Johal, that should be brought forward at the earliest or else he should be released.”