Uproar Again In Assembly On Chamel Singh

Uproar Again In Assembly On Chamel Singh

28 March 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: As the post-mortem report of Indian prisoner Chamel Singh, who was beaten to death in Kot Lakhpat Rai jail of Lahore in Pakistan, has confirmed marks of torture and missing of vital organs from his body, the State Government set up a high level Panel headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Suresh Kumar to study the report to take up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry. Soon after the post-mortem report came, the Government asked Principal Secretary Home Suresh Kumar to inquire into it and prepare a detailed report to take up the matter with External Affairs Ministry. According to official sources, the post-mortem of Chamel Singh, which had been conducted by a Board of Doctors in the Government Medical College, Jammu soon after his body was brought here from Wagah border, revealed that he had peeling of skin over forehead at places left side of chick), below eyelid, at the back of chest measuring 4×3 cm, at the level of thoracic paraspinal region, peeling of skin measuring 4×2 cm over left knew. As per the report, his vital organs like heart and blood vessels, gall bladder, spleen, both kidneys and stomach were not present in the body. Only part of left lung was present, which also showed decomposition changes. Right lung also showed decomposition changes. An eye-witness and human rights activists in Pakistan have confirmed that Chamel Singh had been tortured to death. Meanwhile, the Government today set up a panel to investigate torture marks on the body of Chamel Singh, a prisoner from Pargwal area of Akhnoor tehsil, who was tortured to death in Kot Lakhpat Rai jail of Lahore, Pakistan even as the NPP and JSM MLAs protested in the Assembly against the torture. Speaker Mubarak Gul condemned the torture but ruled out passing any resolution in the House on the ground that the issue pertained to External Affairs Ministry and they were on the job. “We have set up a panel to look into the torture marks on the body of Chamel Singh, which would submit its report soon,” Minister of State for Home, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo said. The Panel would be headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Suresh Kumar. The Minister admitted that there are four torture marks on Chamel Singh’s body, which have been revealed by the post-mortem report. “Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will take up the issue with our External Affairs Ministry to ascertain if the injuries were grave in nature or if there were fractures,” he said. Today the Assembly Speaker has also strongly condemned the incident, Mr Kitchloo said. The Assembly witnessed uproar over the issue of Chamel Singh’s death in Pakistan with the Opposition NPP and JSM demanding a resolution in the House to condemn it. Chamel Singh hailed from the border belt of Pargwal in Akhnoor tehsil. Pakistani troops took him away from his fields close to the Line of Control in 2008. He was killed on January 15 this year reportedly by Kot Lakhpat Rai jail staffers when he was washing clothes. His body was handed over to the family nearly two months after the killing at Wagah border. Raising the issue of Chamel Singh, NPP member Balwant Singh Mankotia urged Speaker Mubarak Gul to unanimously adopt and pass a resolution condemning the death and torture of Singh and also ask the Centre to take up the issue with Pakistan. NPP members and former Ministers Harshdev Singh and Yashpal Kundal and JSM MLA Ashwani Sharma also took up the issue of Chamel Singh’s torture in Pakistan. However, turning down the demand for a resolution, the Speaker said that the Centre is already taking action in connection with the issue. Condemning Singh’s death, the Speaker said an adjournment motion in this regard, has been brought earlier in the House. “We talked to the Centre. The body of Chamel Singh has been brought here. The external affairs are not within our purview. Already I have disposed of the matter with discussion. Another rounds of discussion was not possible here”, Mr Gul said pointing out that human rights activists in both India and Pakistan were active. He hoped that the External Affairs Ministry will do justice in the matter. The Question Hour resumed after 15 minutes of protests by the MLAs during which Independent MLA Engineer Rashid was heard denouncing the State Government on the issue of bringing Afzal Guru’s body for his family. “Tamil Nadu has decided not to allow Sri Lankan players to play in Chennai. They have been a resolution in the Assembly that Sri Lanka should not be treated as a friendly nation. Our Government’s conscience was completely dead on Guru”, Mr Rashid shouted. JSM MLA Ashwani Sharma had heated exchanges with Engineer Rashid on the issue of Guru. The order was restored in the House after about 15 minutes when the Speaker condemned the torture of Chamel Singh. The NPP and JSM MLAs took their seats. Mr Sharma, talking to reporters outside the Assembly, said the issue was raised in the House so that the entire Assembly, cutting across party lines, condemn Singh’s death and send a strong message to Pakistan. “We protested in the House and requested the Speaker for a resolution, because Chamel Singh was tortured. The Speaker also condemned the act,” he said. “We condemn it and it should be condemned by one and all. Human rights organisations should take up the issue at the international level,” senior Congress leader and MLA, Mohammad Sharief Niaz told reporters. “Those involved in this brutal act should be punished. The Centre is taking up the issue with Pakistan,” he added. Leader of NPP in the House, Harshdev Singh said, “The House should condemn Pakistan over this inhuman act as earlier also two soldiers had been beheaded by them.” Leader of the BJP Legislature Party Ashok Khajuria condemned the prisoner’s torture and death and demanded an international probe and punishment to those involved in such act. PDF MLA and former Minister Hakim Mohammad Yasin raised the issue of delay in issuance of passports to the aspirants of Haj. “The people’s applications for Haj were pending for months together”, he said, adding since the passport was pre-condition for Hajis, the Government should take up the matter with the Centre.