AFTER FAILING to draw the attention of the Punjab government and the Ministry of External Affairs to intervene on their behalf with the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the family of a Punjab youth – jailed in Dubai along with 10 others for allegedly killing a Pakistani man – is now making efforts to trace the deceased’s family in order to settle the matter by paying blood money.
All 11 men are from Punjab. Jagtar Singh of Barnala, the father of Satminder Singh, one of the jailed youth, said he had asked a Muslim friend in his village, who was visiting Pakistan, to advertise in the local papers there to trace the family of the murdered man.
In countries that follow Islamic law or elements of it, crimes such as murder can be settled through diyat, which means to compensate the victim’s family with money. The system is practised in the UAE.
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“We have come to know that we may need to pay blood money to the family of the killed man . I have told my Muslim friend from my village, Zora Khan, who is in Pakistan to meet his daughter married there, to give advertise in Pakistani newspapers so that the family of the killed man can be located to reach a compromise. We don’t know the name of the killed man. All we know is that he belonged to Karachi in Pakistan,” said Jagtar Singh.
In the last seven months, the families of the 11 men have been trying to get the Punjab government or the Centre to assist their sons. So far they have not succeeded. Their attempts to meet Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj have proved futile.
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The men were arrested by police in Dubai for their alleged role in the killing of a Pakistan man after a brawl between two sides allegedly involved in illegal liquor trade in Dubai. The men were working in a private company as labourers.
The 11 men are: Satminder Singh of Barnala; Chander Shekhar of NawaSher; Chamkaur Singh of Malerkotla; Kulwinder Singh, Balwinder Kumar and Dharamvir Singh of Ludhiana; Kulwinder Singh of Tarn Taran; Harjinder Singh of Mohali, Tarsem Singh of Amritsar; Gurpreet Singh of Patiala; and. Jagjit Singh (Gurdaspur).
Some families met Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member of Parliament Bhagwant Mann who expressed his helplessness. They have written to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s office also but there has been no response. One family managed to get as far as the office of the External Affairs Minister, but were asked to go back and send an email.
“I got a call from my son on July 14, 2015 from the Dubai jail that he along with 10 other Punjabi youth were arrested by Dubai police for killing of a man from Karachi,” said Jagrat Singh.
“He told me there is an illegal liquor trade in Dubai in which Punjabis and Pakistanis are involved. A brawl took place between Pakistani and Punjabis around 10 pm on July 12, 2015 and a Pakistani man was killed. Two of the Punjabis involved in the fight were living in the same accommodation where my son and other youth were living,” said Jagtar.
“Police detained around 25 youth from the accommodation. All were from Punjab. After medical examination, police released all those who had not had any liquor. The two involved in the brawl had run away and were arrested only on July 16. Except those two, all others are innocent,” said Jagtar recounting what his son had told him.
“The complainants have not appeared in the Dubai court for last four hearings and judge has summoned them to appear in the court. The last hearing was on January 11 and I have not got any call from my son since then,” said Jagtar.
He said he got the first call from his son three days after the arrest.
As Bhagwant Mann is the MP from Jagtar’s constituency, he approached him first. “We had many meetings with him but finally he told us that it was not in his capacity to help us as it is the BJP government in Centre. Then we attempted to meet Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. We made repeated rounds of the Barnala Deputy Commissioner office. We were told that our letter was forwarded to Punajb CM’s officer who further forwarded it to the office of Sushma Sawraj. Nobody allowed us to meet the CM during his public visits on several occasions and his staff only received our written applications. We have got no reaction on our letter so far,” Jagtar said.
Sarabjit Kaur, sister of Chamkaur Singh, managed to reach Sushma Swaraj’s office. Her husband Ranjit Singh is the BJP’s SC wing leader in Ludhiana. “We went there around five months back. But we were told to file our application via mail. We returned and sent it via mail. We have not got any response yet,” said Sarabjit Kaur.
Punjab BJP vice-president Kewal Kumar and BJP SC wing vice-president Balwinder Singh Gill arranged a meeting of victim families with Punjab State SC commission Chairman Rajesh Bagha at Rayya town of Amritsar on Monday. Balwinder Singh told The Indian Express they would bring the issue to the notice of Sushma Swaraj.