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Minister 'deeply concerned' about Scot held in India

Jagtar Singh Johal, of Dumbarton, was reportedly tortured and electrocuted by police.

The Scottish Government is "deeply concerned" about the detention of a man in India who campaigners say has been tortured by police.

Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, was detained in Jalandhar in the state of Punjab on November 4.

Mr Johal, who got married in India in October, has told lawyers he has been tortured with "body separation techniques and electrocution".

External affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop said the government was "deeply concerned to learn about the detention" of Mr Johal, adding it has been in touch with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) about the case.

The Sikh Federation UK said no official charges have yet appeared but local media reported Mr Johal's arrest was linked to the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab in 1984.

The federation has raised concerns with the FCO and the leader of Glasgow Gurdwara has written to Scotland's First Minister in a bid for support.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1402184-scot-tortured-and-electrocuted-by-police-in-india/ | default

Charandeep Singh wrote: "I write to you as general secretary of the Glasgow Gurdwara to express the concerns and worries of the Glasgow Sikh community and the wider Scottish Sikh community regarding the abduction and detention of Mr Jagtar Singh Johal.

"We are concerned that the authorities may be using methods of torture against Jagtar and this is highly likely given the history of the Punjab police and by the fact that no family member, legal representative or British Government representative has been able to meet Jagtar and vouch for his location or his physical and mental well-being.

"I would strongly welcome your intervention in this case and support Jagtar Singh Johal and the wider Scottish Sikh community, as we campaign to secure Jagtar's release and safe return to Scotland."

Jagtar Singh Johal: Scot got married in India in October.
Jagtar Singh Johal: Scot got married in India in October. Sikh Federation

External affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "We are deeply concerned to learn about the detention of Jagtar Singh Johal.

"Scottish Government officials have contacted the Foreign Commonwealth Office about this case - they have assured us they are aware of the situation and are currently attempting to gain access to Mr Johal.

"The First Minister has asked to be kept informed of any further developments."

The FCO said on Tuesday it takes allegations of torture "very seriously" and is taking action to check on Mr Johal's welfare.

A spokesman said: "When considering how to act, we will avoid any action that might put the individual in question or any other person that may be affected at risk."

The Sikh Federation said the 30-year-old should be enjoying married life but "finds himself the subject of some sort of conspiracy hatched by the Punjab police and leading politicians".

A rally calling for his release is to be held by the federation outside the FCO in London at midday on Thursday.

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