The family of Kirpal Singh (50), who was languishing in the Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, and died under mysterious circumstances on Monday, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today. They told him that they suspected foul play in Kirpal’s death and urged him to approach the Pakistan High Commission for an “impartial probe”.The deceased’s family lives in Mustabad Saidan village on the outskirts of Gurdaspur city.Kirpal had allegedly crossed the Attari-Wagah border to Pakistan in 1992 and was subsequently sentenced to death in a serial bomb blasts case in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He was later acquitted. However, his sister Jagir Kaur said to date they didn’t understand why the death sentence was not commuted despite the acquittal.They pleaded with the Pakistan and Indian authorities to send his body home so that they could perform his last rites. Maninderjeet Singh Bitta, chairman of the All India Anti Terrorist Front, assured them of taking up the matter with the Pakistan High Commission. He said, “Earlier, Pakistan didn’t released our 1971 war prisoners and now is killing Indian nationals lodged in their jails. What was done to Sarabjit has been done to Kirpal now.”Dalbir Kaur — sister of Sarabjit Singh who, like Kirpal, had trespassed into Pakistan’s territory before he died in the same jail — accompanied the kin.
Kirpal’s son Ashwani Kumar said as Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails were “normally treated badly”, he believed that his father could be killed by some Pakistani agencies.He said he received a phone call from a reporter of a vernacular daily based in Amritsar around 3 pm yesterday informing him about his father’s demise. “Later, IB officials and the Gurdaspur police also rang him up to tell me about the tragedy. Later, we contacted Dalbir Kaur who urged us to reach Delhi where she would help them take up the case with senior officers.Ashwani, who works as a labourer, said, “In the past one decade, we have met several politicians and urged them to take up the case with the higher-ups. However, nobody cared and my father kept rotting in the jail,” he told TNS from Delhi.Sister suspects murderI received the last letter from his side around two months ago. It stated that the life of prisoners in the Pakistan jail was deplorable and unhygienic. Pakistani news claimed that he was sick for the past one week or so. If it is true, why were we not informed? It was a deliberate attempt by the Pakistan authorities to design the murder as a natural death. —Jagir Kaur, kirpal’s sister Conspiracy, alleges Sarabjit Singh’s sister It is a conspiracy identical to that under which Sarabjit was killed in jail. The Union government must form an investigation panel and send to Pakistan jail to unearth the truth. — Dalbir Kaur, sarabjit singh’s sister