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What about the fate of 6850 Indian prisoners in foreign jails?
India must concentrate on certain questions that have cropped up after the death of Sarabjit Singh to avoid repetition of such episodes. As many as 6850 Indian prisoners are lodged in foreign jails for various crimes such as violation of immigration/visa rules, overstay, illegal entry, robbery, non-possession of valid travel document, valid visa/permit, etc., but living a miserable and uncertain life in 80 foreign countries with half of them in Gulf countries alone.

Of these 1691 are in Saudi Arabia, 1161 in Kuwait and 1012 in Arab Emirates and 535 in Pakistan. Indian prisoners are also lodged in Pakistan, Britain, America, China, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Nepal, Iraq, Iran, Algeria, Belgium and France. Deep sense of shock and sorrow have already been expressed by every Indian on the brutal assault by some fellow inmates on Sarbjit Singh, Indian death row convict in Pakistan Kot Lakhpat jail, with intention to murder and showing inhuman treatment on his death while transferring the dead body to India by removing the major organs – heart, kidney, lever, portion of brain.  

It shows that Pakistan has no respect for human rights. At the same time, the entire issue also brings to the fore the incompetency of the Indian Government to properly take up Sarabjit’s case with Pakistan who became a victim of mistaken identity as Manjit Singh involved in bomb blasts in 1990 in Punjab of Pakistan who in fact is Sarabjit Singh of Tarn Taran which issue remained ignored during the trials in Pakistan.

What lands Indians in jails is ordinary crimes, drug trafficking and domestic violence but a large number of prisoners in the Gulf countries are arrested for badly drafted contracts and illegal stay and immigration. Like in Malaysia itself which has 187 Indian prisoners and Singapore 156 prisoners, most of them were arrested for immigration violations and a few for drug trafficking. But there are number of factors including delay in ensuring justice, in communication between the local government and the Indian offices abroad play a major role in the number and duration of detentions. The fate of 6850 Indian prisoners in foreign jails has to be determined by taking up the matter with the respective governments to avoid repetition of episodes like Sarabjit Singh. 

In fact, the relations between the countries are not based on the doctrines of aggressive feelings or violence or non-violence. Such types of decisions were being taken during the middle age with intention of ‘tit for tat or eye for eye”. But two developing countries cannot decide about their relations in this way when both are in possession of atom power. Our relations with Pakistan are already bitter and to solve the same it requires a sufficient time and intelligence. In case the Pakistan is under the influence of power of terrorists and anarchists but in return, Indian cannot adopt the same attitude.  

No doubt, in such a situation, some political leaders do not restrain from giving certain as it is not in the interest of future of the nation. The incident of attack in Jammu Jail on Pak prisoner, after the death of Sarabjit, has tarnished the image of our country and has weakened our stand at the international level. Everybody has the right to express his concern on the death of Sarbjit and the government but the same must be within the limits in a democratic country.

India should not be mute spectator to the incident of death of Sarbjit in Pakistant Jail but must learn a lesson to ensure the safety of Indian prisoners in foreign jails and concentrate on the following questions which have cropped up after the death of Sarbjit Singh:  

What action has been taken for the safety of Indian prisoners in foreign jails? What mechanism for compassionate and humanitarian consideration for women, juvenile, mentally challenged, elderly and those suffering from illness has been adopted? How the India would represent at the international level the violation of human rights in Pakistan? What was done by the Indian consulate in Pakistan in view of the threats to Sarabjit in jails in Pakistan? What is the solution of knot in the delicate relations between India and Pakistan which is affecting on culture, economy, and social relations of both the countries? 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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