Home News Ms. Jagtar Singh Johal talks about her 12-month ordeal

Ms. Jagtar Singh Johal talks about her 12-month ordeal

The Scot's wife, who was arrested in India for assassination attempts, spoke for the first time since he was bundled off the street a few weeks after her "dream" wedding.

Jagtar Singh Johal was arrested and detained by plainclothes police in the Punjab area a year ago today.

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The 31-year-old, who is supported by the Redress human rights campaign, claims to have been tortured by the authorities. He claimed he supported the killing of right-wing Hindus and funded a banned group.

After 60 court hearings, however, no evidence against him and his family was feared that the trial would be extended indefinitely.

Now they are renewing their appeal to the Scots and the British Government for marking them 365 days after the date of his imprisonment.

And his wife, who was planning to build a life with Jagtar in Scotland, reveals her torment for the first time.

The 30-year-old, who lives in India and worries about her own safety, spoke exclusively to the Sunday National, on the condition that we do not reveal her name.

The couple currently only meets once a week in a meeting that sometimes takes only 10 minutes.

The trip to the prison takes six hours for Jagtar's wife.

"After my dream wedding, I was looking forward to spending time with my husband," she said. "Instead, I had to stay hidden for months, separated from him.

"I wake up every day and think that my husband is at the door waiting for the car to take us to the airport so we can fly to the UK.

"Jagtar and I are very grateful for the support of the public and for their efforts to secure his release."

The couple collapsed after being introduced by family members as part of an arranged marriage.

The National:

A nephew of Jagtar Singh Johal detains a photo of his uncle. Photo: Colin Mearns

Jagtar, known as Jaggi, traveled to India with close relatives for the Sikh Festival Vaisakhi in April 2017 when he met his potential fiancé for the first time.

She also told her family that she wanted to marry him, whether she liked him or not, and agreed with all parties that they married in October last year at a solemn ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people.

Only fourteen days later, Jagtar was arrested while shopping with his wife and cousin.

Back at home in Dumbarton – where Jagtar's room remains untouched – his older brother Gurpreet heard the news in a frantic morning call, initially worried that his sibling had been kidnapped by a gang.

"It was a big wedding, he came from the UK, everyone knew it," Gurpreet said. "I thought there was a financial motive, and it could have been anyone.

"I went into problem-solving mode. You can cry there or try to do something about it.

"First, call your authorities, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had no information."

Gurpreet used personal relationships to find that his brother was under police detention in Punjabi, which claims that Jagtar had been on their radar for more than a year before the arrest.

It is alleged that during a trip to France in 2013, the Internet marketer handed over £ 3,000 to a man who was then paid four years later for targeted killings.

The man who is said to have received the sum has since died in prison.

Jagtar, who contributed to a website dedicated to the Sikh genocide in 1984, which killed 3,000, said the Internet was also used to radicalize others.

The National:

His family believes he is innocent, and Gurpreet, as pictured above, says the ordeal has targeted his young sons, who are closely tied to their uncle, against their ancestral lands.

"It hurts me to say they hate India," Gurpreet said. "How can you explain that to the children?

"They wrote him a letter saying," We love you, we miss you, we want you back. "

"We had to tell the school, and they were great. We have a lot of support in Dumbarton – the barber tells his client about Jagtar, the guys in the gym where he trained.

"The Scottish media handled the case, but there was no British coverage, even though we cracked at the doors.

"Other cases of British detained abroad were dealt with much faster. As a lawyer, I do not want to say that it's the color. "

The family is more critical of the British government than the media.

While two men served as foreign ministers last year – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – neither has met with the family, even though Secretary of State Rory Stewart has promised "extreme measures" if the torture allegations of Jagtar are proven.

And despite a written statement claiming he was exposed to electric shocks and "body separation techniques," no independent medical examination has taken place.

India has rejected a UK request for leniency, and the Indian authorities have not yet responded to two letters from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

However, the British Sikh community has mobilized behind the family. The #FreeJaggiNow campaign was supported in the US and Canada.

Suresh Arora, director-general of police in Punjab, called the campaign "unhappy" and told the Hindustan Times, "We arrested Johal after a thorough investigation.

"In my more than 35-year career, I have not found any relatives of a defendant to admit that his relative has committed a crime."

Supporters will gather on Sunday at Central Gurdwara in Glasgow to pray for Jagtar.

In a message to the readers of this newspaper, Gurpreet said that his brother's case should be of national interest. "We need the Scottish people to support us," he said

said. "It's Jagtar today: tomorrow it could be you. Just because you are British does not mean that our rights are protected abroad. It's obvious that the red passport means nothing.

"He has a right to a fair trial. We will continue to speak out. "

For Gurpreet, this means repaying his brother for the moral and financial support that has helped him secure his legal qualifications.

The National:

Jagtar came in to help Father Jasbir, as pictured above, to run the family take-away business while Gurpreet performed his dream job. He also used money earned by trading highly collectible Pokemon cards to pay for the certifications.

Even if he had not, Gurpreet would never leave. "It does not matter if you hate your brother or love your brother," he told this newspaper, "he's still your brother.

"After his arrest, I cried myself to sleep. I was broken when I heard about the torture, but reading his written statement was worse. He said these two months would be like ten years of hell.

"People say he must have done something or why they should have arrested him … But if they have evidence, why did not we see it?

"I think they need Jagtar to make the conspiracy claim. Without him, there is no international point of view, because all the others who arrested her are Indians. His research on 1984 made him a soft target. "

The FCO said, "After being detained in Punjab, our employees continue to support a Briton and his family.

"We continue to visit him regularly and express concerns with the Indian government regarding his case, including alleged torture and ill-treatment, and his right to a fair trial."



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