India 'not safe' for family of Briton arrested 100 days ago

The family of a Scottish Sikh man detained in India without charge say they do not feel safe to travel to the country.

Jagtar Singh Johal, 31, has now spent 100 days in custody since he was arrested in Punjab on November 4, shortly after his wedding.

Indian authorities allege Mr Johal, who was born and brought up in Glasgow, was involved in financing the killing of Hindu leaders but he has not been formally charged with any offence.

Speaking in Glasgow on Monday, Gurpreet Singh Johal said his brother, known as Jaggi, was a friendly, bubbly person, who should be enjoying "the happiest time of his life" after his wedding.

Gurpreet said: "Various allegations have been made against Jaggi that he has been accused of funding right-wing murders, however no evidence has been provided in relation to any of this.

"No charge sheet has been filed and 100 days on we are still waiting to hear what exactly Jaggi has been charged with.

"We are also concerned that the UK Government are not able to protect its citizens. Jaggi has been subject to third degree torture, extreme action was promised but it's not been taken.

"On November 7 the chief minister of Punjab stated they had all the evidence but 100 days on it still isn't clear.

"It's ended any right to a fair trial, 100 days have elapsed and they have sought another 90 days so it's causing concern of what's actually going on."

Gurpreet said his brother may have translated documents to English for a website about the 1984 Golden Temple massacre of Sikhs, but there was no evidence of the alleged crimes.

He said: "It appears that (the police) may have got the wrong person but to save face they keep on going down this route of keeping him as long as they can and glorifying some of these allegations in order to keep him there longer."

Jagtar Singh Johal was arrested in Punjab on November 4 last year (Johal family/PA)
Jagtar Singh Johal was arrested in Punjab on November 4 last year (Johal family/PA)

Gurpreet travelled to India with another family member shortly after his brother was arrested but they were forced to leave the country.

He said: "Our lives became at risk so we had to leave on November 9, not by choice, but it was going to cause more grief for the family.

"Right now I don't think it's safe for me to go."

The case has been raised with the United Nations through human rights organisation Redress.

Advocacy officer Josie Fathers said: "Jagtar's treatment to date raises concerns about the chances of him being subject to further torture and ill treatment.

"He remains without charge and has been virtually isolated from the outside world.

"In December, Redress urged UN special rapporteur on torture to intervene in Jagtar's case to ensure that he is protected from ill treatment.

"When there are strong allegations of torture the special rapporteur has the power to request the government of India that any alleged ill treatment is stopped and investigated.

"We continue to urge him to intervene and hope there is progress ahead of the Human Rights Council in March."

MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who represents the constituency of the Johal family home in Dumbarton, has been working with cross-party colleagues to highlight Mr Johal's case.

He said the FCO needs to "up its game" in terms of consular assistance, claiming support for Mr Johal was "remiss, especially at the beginning".

He added: "The longer it goes without charge the Indian authorities leave themselves open to accusation of undermining an open and fair trial."