British Sikh Jagtar Singh Johal holidaying in India has been arrested and detained, accused of “influencing the youth through social media”, a Sikh group said.
Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, had a sack thrown over his head and was forced into a van by plain-clothes officers on 4 November, the Sikh Federation UK said.
The 30-year-old was reportedly out shopping with his wife and cousin when the incident happened in Jalandhar in the state of Punjab.
Mr Johal’s crimes reportedly include “running a magazine” in the UK of atrocities during the 1984 Sikh Genocide and “influencing the youth through social media”.
His brother and local MP have called for British authorities to intervene.
Mr Johal, who recently married, is said to have been in the country since 2 October for his wedding. His whereabouts and condition remain unknown, the Sikh Federation said.
The Sikh Federation (UK) is demanding action from both the British and Scottish governments in ensuring his immediate release to prevent further torture and hardship
His elder brother Gurpreet Singh Johal said: “Unless the British authorities quickly step in this will guarantee a law-abiding British citizen will be illegally detained for some time and will not receive a fair trial. He should be immediately released and returned to the UK.”
Jagtar Singh’s in-laws live at nearby Jagir Sohal village. His mother-in-law, Amandeep Kaur, said, “We knew Jagtar’s parents for long. The family had no criminal past. My son-in-law (Jagtar Singh) is innocent. He has no criminal track record. He is implicated in a false case. Police is harassing not only us, but our relatives too. Police is demanding his passport from us. Police told us that Jagtar used to visit Pakistan frequently. My daughter and son-in-law were going to Chandigarh on November 4, when police stopped their car near Ramamandi in Jalandhar and took him with them. They told my daughter that they were taking him to Faridkot. But, we did not hear anything from them later. We only got to know yesterday that he was arrested on murder charge”.
Asked about her daughter, Amandeep Kaur, said, “My daughter got married a few days ago only and this is what has happened now. She is in deep shock and not in a position to speak to anyone”.
British MP supports Johal
Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, has been supporting the family.
Deeply concerned about the arrest and imprisonment in India of my constituent Jagtar Singh Johal. I have given my full support to Jagtar’s family here in West Dunbartonshire and will be doing all I can as their MP to help resolve the matter.https://t.co/Yui3iTV1xI
— Martin Docherty (@MartinJDocherty) November 10, 2017
He added: “I will also be contacting the Foreign Secretary and the Scottish Government to ensure that Jagtar and his family are not unfairly mistreated by the Indian authorities. This is an extremely serious matter and I hope my constituents will be fully supported in their efforts to secure a positive outcome.”