A 30 year old Scottish man, Jagtar Singh Johan from West Dunbartonshire, has been arrested and denied legal representation while holidaying in Jalandha, Punjab, India.
Jagtar- Jaggi to his friends – was in the area for his wedding, and was shopping with his new wife when he had a sack thrown over his head and was bundled into a van by men in plain clothes, who the family found out later were policemen.
The Indian authorities have so far refused to give any information regarding Jagtar’s welfare or whereabouts to any UK MPs, or the British High Commission, although police have suggested in Indian media reports that his crime is that he had been “running a magazine” in the UK that outlines the atrocities of the 1984 Sikh genocide, and “influencing the youth through social media.”
As far as we are aware, running a magazine is not a crime in the UK, and it’s hard to see how India has jurisdiction to arrest a UK citizen for activity carried out in the UK even if it were. But since Jagtar has had no legal representation, is being held without charge, and has had no trial, he can’t even make his case.
His family has been in touch with several UK MPS, including his local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who has expressed concern for his constituent and offered full support to his family during this distressing time. He has also contacted The High Commission of India in London and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on their behalf. The UK foreign office is yet to comment.
Fears are growing that Jagtar is being mistreated. Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“We are deeply concerned for the mental and physical wellbeing of this young man who got married on 18th October and was spending time with his wife before returning to the UK.”
He went on to add that he was;
“disturbed by the lack of urgency and action taken by the British High Commission in both Delhi, the mission in Chandigarh, and the Foreign office in London. They have failed to make contact with senior police officers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of this young British man.”
This should be the happiest time of newly wed Jagtar “Jaggi” Singh Johan’s life. Instead, it has turned into a nightmare.
How to help
You can follow the story and help raise awareness by using the hashtag #FreeJaggiNow and copying in the UK Foreign Office, @foreignoffice.