September 14, 2023 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh – Two day’s ago in Parliament Rishi Sunak was challenged over his handling of the case of British national, Jagtar Singh Johal.
Alicia Kearns, the Conservative who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said MPs said: “Will the Government now finally officially call for him to be released because the UN has accepted, he is arbitrarily detained and does the Prime Minister believe that he has been unfairly treated or even tortured whilst he’s been held?”
Rishi Sunak’s disappointing reply was: “We are committed to seeing Mr Johal’s case resolved as soon as possible. We continue to provide consular assistance to him and his family and have raised concerns about issues including consular access to Mr Johal, the judicial process and reports of mistreatment with the Indian government on multiple occasions, including myself with Prime Minister Modi just this weekend.”
Martin Docherty-Hughes, the SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, put it to Rishi Sunak the rights of his constituent were being compromised to try and get a trade deal over the line.
Labour former minister Sir Chris Bryant added: “Surely one of the things that should keep the Prime Minister awake at night is whenever a British national is arbitrarily detained in a foreign country.”
“You would hope that ministers, and the Prime Minister himself, would summon up every ounce of energy to try and get people released.”
“I’m sorry but I think quite a lot of us are very depressed by the Prime Minister’s own answer to (Ms Kearns) earlier about Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been arbitrarily detained now for six years.”
“Everybody knows that he is being tortured and that he is being mistreated.”
The public excuse now being pushed by Rishi Sunak to MPs is his “trial” has started and so we have to wait for the conclusion of that process.
Senior Conservative MP David Davis, in a tweet said the Government’s stance was in “defiance of natural justice” and again called for Jagtar’s immediate release.
Dabinderjit Singh, the Principal Adviser of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“We are picking up considerable disquiet amongst MPs on all sides over Rishi Sunak’s handling of the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.”
“Conservative MPs, including Ministers have told us in confidence that the primary reason why the UK Government will not follow its own policy for a British citizen who is arbitrarily detained abroad and call for Jagtar’s immediate release is simply Rishi Sunak.”
“He does not want to do anything to upset his friend, Narendra Modi who he openly admires. MPs admit Rishi Sunak is conflicted when it comes to India.”
“The private and weak line Rishi is giving out to Conservative MPs is that calling for Jagtar’s release would jeopardise any possibility of a trade deal before the General Election. This is a disgusting line for a British PM to take given Jagtar, a British citizen, is facing the death penalty.”
“Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary (now Chancellor of the Exchequer) met Jagtar’s wife in April 2019 and told her that the Foreign Office had come to the conclusion Jagtar had “no chance of a fair trial” in India.”
“MPs need to ask how Rishi Sunak four and half years later can hide behind a corrupt judicial process and the right to a fair trial in India where the UK Government has had serious concerns that he admitted to in Parliament yesterday.”
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