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UAE: 17 Indians on death row set to walk free

Khan was killed in a turf war over illegal liquor trade. Three were injured in the fight.

The 17 Indians on death row in UAE for killing a Pakistani may soon walk free as arbitrating members of the Indian community have reached a preliminary understanding with victim’s family over payment of around Rs 4 crore (Pakistani Rupees 8 crore) as blood money.

A part of the blood money —Pakistani Rupees 1 crore—has already been paid and the remainder will be paid on July 27 when the Sharjah court hearing the case will convene to pronounce the judgment,Dubai-based founder-member of Indian Punjabi Society and president of NGO Sarbat Da Bhalla S P Singh Oberoi,said Wednesday.

“The Honourable Judge Abdullah Al Shamsi took note of this important development and ruled that the court would convene on 27th July to receive pardon papers and meet other formalities,” a statement from the Consulate General of India said.

On March 18,2010 the Sharjah Court of First Instance pronounced the death sentence on 17 Indians —16 from Punjab and one from Haryana— accused of killing Masri Khan in January 2009.

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Khan was killed in a turf war over illegal liquor trade. Three were injured in the fight. Wednesday’s was the 15th hearing in the case.

The consulate said since this matter is now over two-and-a-half-years-old,the court had suggested a mutually agreeable understanding between the two sides for an early resolution.

“Such an agreement was also desired by the accused. Guided by the same opinion,concerned members of the Indian community,led by Mr S P Singh Oberoi,had independently contacted and pursued the possibility of a compromise with the family of the deceased,” said the statement.

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“For the past 10 days we have been trying to convince the family members of Masri Khan,his parents,wife,daughter and four brothers to accept the blood money and finally they agreed for the compromise,” Oberoi said.

He said they have produced a letter in the court to confirm the settlement.

“The families are in no position to pay the blood money. We will arrange for the funds. Our main aim now is to see the boys back home safe and sound,” Oberoi said.

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Meanwhile,families of the accused were ecstatic. “I have spent days waiting for this news. I have vacillated between hope and despair but all the pain has vanished today,” said Ranjit Kaur,whose husband Parampal Singh is one of the 17 accused.

“We simply cannot believe the news. My wife is glued to the television,” said Malkait Singh,father of one of the accused Ram Singh,from Kaven village in Amritsar.

“The organisation and S P Singh have worked tirelessly and they have not even taken a penny from us,” he said.

“My brother Daljeet is innocent but we could not do much….My parents cannot wait for the day they see their son alive,” said Jagjit Singh from Aitiana in Ludhiana.

Oberoi and the families of the accused also thanked Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarinder Singh: “Capt Amarinder had met the accused young men inside Sharjah Jail last year and promised to bring them back to their families in Punjab. He had also met the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi and the chief of police at Sharjah.”

First published on: 21-07-2011 at 03:27:51 am
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