Sarabjit Singh still critical, in coma at Lahore hospital still critical, in coma at Lahore hospital
Lahore: Sarabjit Singh, an Indian man who is on death row in Pakistan, continues to be in critical condition in a hospital in Lahore where he was admitted after he was brutally attacked by a group of prisoners at a jail yesterday. (How Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh was attacked in Lahore jail)
Sarabjit, 49, was assaulted at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. He is in coma and on ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit of the state-run Jinnah Hospital in Lahore. Doctors attending to him have said he is responding to some stimuli at times, a latest statement from the Ministry of External Affairs states.
Six prisoners reportedly attacked Sarabjit and hit him with bricks and a blade, reports Press Trust of India. Two have been booked for attempt to murder. One of them had reportedly had a quarrel with him a few days ago. (Two prisoners booked for attack on Sarabjit)
Sarabjit is believed to have suffered extensive internal bleeding caused by a severe head injury. Even as he was in coma, doctors carried out X-rays, MRI, CT scans on him. They are now waiting for his condition to stabilise before conducting further tests.
Pakistani TV news channels quoted their sources as saying that next 24 hours would be crucial for Sarabjit.
Condemning the attack on Sarabjit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it was a "very sad incident."
Sarabjit has been on a death row in Pakistan since 1990 after he was convicted by Pakistani courts for bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan which left 14 people dead.
Sarabjit’s family claims that he had inadvertently crossed into Pakistan in August 1990 in a drunk state and was arrested there.
His sister Dalbir Kaur, who has been spearheading the campaign for his release, has said there was constant threat to her brother’s life in Pakistan after the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. She said she had apprised authorities about it but no action was taken. (Sarabjit Singh’s life was at threat after Afzal Guru’s hanging, says his sister)
Sarabjit Singh critical: How he was attacked in Lahore jail
Death row prisoner Amer Aftab tried to attack Sarabjit a few days ago and abused him, the sources told PTI.
The reason for the altercation could not immediately be ascertained.
The prisoners gathered near Sarabjit’s barrack after evading guards, a jail official said on condition of anonymity.
The prisoners overpowered two jail wardens and Aftab snatched the key of Sarabjit’s cell and opened the door.
Sarabjit was hit on the head with bricks and his face, neck and stomach were cut with blades and sharp pieces of a ghee tin, at least two sources told PTI.
"When the staff found Singh, he was unconscious and bleeding profusely. The staff removed his clothes which were covered with blood. They put on the shirt and pants of a jail warden and took him to Jinnah Hospital," the jail official said.
Earlier, unnamed officials of Kot Lakhpat Jail were quoted by Pakistani TV news channels as saying that only two prisoners Amer Aftab and Mudassar were involved in the attack.
The officials were also quoted as saying that Sarabjit was attacked when he and other prisoners were brought out of their cells for an hour-long break.
However, the sources rejected these claims and said Sarabjit was assaulted by at least six prisoners within his barrack.
Aftab, who was sentenced to death for murdering a mayor’s brother, and Mudassar were locked up after the attack and interrogated, sources said.
Malik Mubashir, Deputy Superintendent of Prisons in Punjab province, was appointed to head the inquiry into the attack.
Mubashir would probe all aspects of the incident and ascertain whether some jail officials may have been involved or linked to the attack on Sarabjit.
He will also ascertain whether the attackers were motivated by "religious elements", the sources said.
Sarabjit was admitted to the state-run Jinnah Hospital with a severe head injury this evening and his condition was described as critical.
Authorities had tightened Sarabjit’s security after the recent execution in India of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his involvement in the 2001 terror attack on the Indian parliament.
In January, another Indian prisoner in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Chambail Singh, died after allegedly being assaulted by prison staff.
Though he died in mysterious circumstances, Singh’s autopsy was performed almost two months after his death.
Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990.
His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.
The outgoing Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit’s execution for an indefinite period in 2008.
Sarabjit’s family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.
Pakistan High Commission has granted visa to four members of Sarabjit’s family
Four members of Sarabjit Singh’s family have been granted visa by the Pakistan High Commission to meet the Indian prisoner who is in “deep coma” and put on ventilator support after being assaulted by jail inmates in Lahore.
Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur on Saturday said that the High Commission in Delhi has issued visa to the family and she along with his daughters Poonam, Swapandeep Kaur and the prisoner’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur would be travelling to Lahore.
However, she did not say when they will leave for Pakistan.
A doctor examines Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh who was attacked in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, at her residence in Amritsar on Saturday. Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Poonam and Swapandeep are also seen. Photo: PTI
Besides visa to four family members, she said government officials have informed her that Pakistan government has allowed one family member to stay in the Lahore hospital where Sarabjit, whose condition continues to be critical, is under treatment.
Last night, Dalbir Kaur had made a strong appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur to do the needful to arrange the visa for Pakistan so that the family could visit Sarabjit, who is on death row in Kot Lakhpat jail.
Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province in Pakistan, that killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.
His family says he is a victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border.
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