Family of Blogger detained in India Fear for his Life

The family of a Scottish blogger detained in India fear for his life. This comes after fresh accusations emerged.

Family of Blogger detained in India Fear for his Life f

"the mental torture is going to be worse."

Blogger Jagtar Singh Johal has been detained in India since 2017 without trial over allegations of his involvement in a conspiracy linked to the drive for a separate Sikh state.

Shortly after his wedding in India, he was arrested and no evidence against him has been presented.

Now his family in Dumbarton, Scotland, fear for his life after he was taken from his high-security prison over a fatal shooting that happened hundreds of miles away from his cell.

Jagtar, aged 33, was in a Delhi prison when a former anti-insurgency leader was shot by two men in October 2020.

His family understood that another of those detained over the death of anti-insurgency figure Balwinder Singh Sandhu has implicated Jagtar.

Jagtar has not been allowed direct communication with his family in months and his contact with legal representatives and UK officials is limited.

The family, including Jagtar’s solicitor brother Gurpreet, said he is innocent.

After Jagtar provided written testimony of electrocution, death threats and other torture during his initial period of interrogation, his family fear for his safety and wellbeing.

Gurpreet told The National: “He was tortured. Even if it’s not physical this time, the mental torture is going to be worse.

“We are concerned that the tactics are going to be to mentally drain him.

“They can do anything – with Covid, they can blame anything on that. We are genuinely scared for his life.

“We believe Jagtar is fully innocent and this is another fabricated case to prolong his detention.”

International organisation Redress is campaigning for Jagtar right to a fair trial and action over his torture claims. UN officials have also written to Indian authorities about these claims.

After his wedding, the blogger was forced into an unmarked van by plain-clothed officers who did not identify themselves.

Although authorities said they had evidence to charge him, clear details have not emerged.

His wife is now in Scotland, seeking the right to remain with her in-laws over fears she may become a target in India.

Jagtar was able to speak with his legal advocate on January 7, 2021, asking him “what have I done? I have not done anything”.

His family, who said his blogging activity was limited to material related to the anti-Sikh riots of the 1980s, are now awaiting updates from UK officials.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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