Indian national Gurdip Singh (48), who was to be executed Thursday night for drug smuggling in Indonesia, has not been put to death, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Friday. India is currently exploring all legal options to prevent his execution, said sources.
“Indian Ambassador in Indonesia has informed me that Gurdip Singh whose execution was fixed for last night, has not been executed,” Swaraj tweeted on Friday.
However, it was not clear why the Indian was not executed while four other convicts were put to death by the firing squad.
Gurdip is among the 10 convicts whose execution was not carried out. He was found guilty by an Indonesian court of trying to smuggle in 300 gm of heroin and was handed a death penalty in 2005.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had on Thursday said Indian Embassy officials in Jakarta were reaching out to the Indonesian foreign office and the senior leadership of the country on the issue.
Gurdip’s wife Kulwinder Kaur, who now lives with her two children at her father’s place in Nakodar near Jalandhar, said she could not believe her ears when she heard her husband’s voice over the phone on Friday morning.
“He told me, ‘Tera Gurdip bach gaya, chamatkar ho gaya (Your Gurdip has been spared, it’s a miracle). I was close to the firing squad. My hands were tied and I was blindfolded, but then I was called back. The Indian government stood by me’,” Kaur said, quoting Gurdip.
Gurdip made two more calls later in the day and spoke to his daughter Manjot (17) and nephew Gurpal Singh. Besides Manjot, Gurdip has a son, Sukhbir (13).
Kulwinder said Gurdip had thanked the Indian government, especially External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the media for taking up this case. He had also asked Gurpal to keep informed about any development in the matter, she said.
“He told me that he will return to the jail he was lodged in and asked me to request the government to bring him back home,” she said.
“I would be indebted to Sushma ji (Sushma Swaraj) and media all my life. I want to meet her to thank her personally,” Kulwinder said.
According to Kulwinder, Gurdip, hailing from Sitalpur in UP’s Saharanpur district, left for New Zealand in 2002 but travel agents stopped him in Indonesia, took away his passport and forced him into the drug trade. He was arrested in 2004 and has been in jail since then.
(WITH PTI INPUTS)