Demo on PM’s visit to Westminster over Oxhill man’s detention in India
The Johal family from Oxhill in Dumbarton with Jaggi pictured left.
A protest over detention of Dumbarton man Sikh Jagtar Singh Johal was held in London to coincide with a visit from the Indian prime minister
Johal, whose family live in Oxhill Road, has been detained in India on suspicion of murder. He was arrested in Punjab last November.
Campaigners said the 31-year-old Sikh has been held without charge and tortured. Indian authorities said he is being investigated over seven counts of aiding and abetting of murder.
The protest coincided with the arrival in the UK of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He is in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May raised Mr Johal’s case with Prime Minister Modi when they met on Wednesday morning.
Mr Johal’s brother, Gurpreet Singh, was amongst those who travelled from Glasgow to take part in the protest in Parliament Square.
His distraught family have said Mr Johal was a peaceful activist who had contributed to a website remembering the 1984 massacre at the Golden Temple at Amritsar but was not a militant.
He was arrested in Punjab on 4 November, just over a fortnight after his wedding.
Mr Johal has been accused of conspiracy to murder Hindu leaders and being involved in the murder of a Christian priest
His supporters claim he has had limited access to his family and to a lawyer, and they have also said reports of torture have been ignored.
Charandeep Singh, from Glasgow Gurdwara, who was among those protesting in London, told BBC Scotland: “What we are asking and urging the government of India and the authorities to do is to actually present the evidence and actually outline what the official charge is.
“If we understand what the official charge is, if there is one, then we are able to present a case, and he can actually rightfully defend himself.”
The Indian High Commission has previously said each of the cases against Mr Johal was proceeding “strictly as per due process of Indian law, as in any mature democratic set-up”.
However, television images indicate that he is being given a rough time in custody.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister raised Mr Johal’s case with Prime Minister Modi this morning and the government will continue to make representations on his behalf until our concerns are addressed.
“Our High Commission staff in India have visited Mr Johal 10 times since his detention, most recently on 22 March, and the Foreign Office are in regular contact with his family.”