October 7, 2021 6:17:48 am
A 28-year-old accused in the 2019 Tarn Taran blast case died in the judicial custody at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital at Amritsar, Tuesday, with his family blaming his death on lack of proper medical care.
Malkit Singh had earlier sought bail claiming he had juvenile diabetes and heart disease, but his plea was rejected.
Malkit had been arrested for his alleged involvement in a bomb explosion at a vacant area in Tarn Taran’s Pandori Gola village in September 2019. Two people, Vikram Singh of village Kadgill village and Harpreet Singh of village Bachre, were killed in the blast. Both were named as accused in the case. A fourth accused, one Gurjant Singh, lost his eyes.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered cases against Malkit and others under Sections 304,153A,120-B of IPC, Section 13,16,18, 20, 23 of the The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Section 4& 5 of the Explosive Substances Act.
Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, who represented Malkit in court, had claimed he had been falsely implicated. “He was not named in the first FIR. He was nominated later. Nothing incriminating had been recovered from his possession. He had no record of indulging in any anti-State or unlawful activity. He was a patient of juvenile diabetes and had heart disease. Even after his arrest, he mostly remained in the Jail Hospital or at Guru Nanak Hospital, Amritsar. We had repeatedly asked for his bail on the grounds of his critical illness.”
The NIA, however, had opposed Malkit’s bail plea and informed the court that he was radicalised towards the Khalistan movement. “He was part of a terrorist gang who planned terrorist activities,” the NIA had said.
On December 20, 2020, the Punjab and Haryana High court had disposed Malkit’s bail application with a direction to get him examined by a board of doctors and proper treatment be accorded to him on urgent basis. “In the event of the treatment not being available at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, the petitioner would be taken to PGI, Chandigarh for his treatment,” the court had said.
“The authorities took Malkit to PGI only once. When he was admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, the doctors had told jail officials to take him to PGI Chandigarh. But there was never any serious effort from the jail administration to save my brother’s life,” said Malkit’s brother.
“The NIA couldn’t establish Malkit’s role in any activity in which any human being or animal was harmed in any way. He was deprived of medical care, which is the reason behind his death,” the brother added.
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