Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday called on the family of Sarabjit Singh to offer condolences on the death of the Indian death row convict in a Lahore hospital and gave assurance that the government would try to get the body back “as soon as possible”.
Speaking to the media after paying a visit to the family which is staying in Tilak Lane here, Mr. Shinde said he has met Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur and other family members.
He said: “It is really sad for the country that Sarabjit Singh is dead. I have offered condolences on behalf of the nation and we have given assurance that we are trying to get the body back as soon as possible.”
Mr. Shinde, who was with the family for around half an hour, said the ministry of external affairs was “in regular touch” with the Indian High Commission and the last rites of Singh would be performed in accordance to the wishes of the family.
Asked if India would push for a probe into the April 26 brutal beating of Sarabjit in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail that led to grievous injuries and his hospitalisation, Mr.Shinde said: “We have been saying that Sarabjit Singh is not involved in any...militancy and he should be freed.”
“The home minister assured the family that a special aircraft would be arranged to bring the body from Pakistan,” said Raj Kumar Verka, vice chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, who was present when Shinde met Sarabjit’s family here.
“The body will be taken to his native village in Amritsar and the last rites will be performed with full honours,” Mr. Verka said.
He said the family has demanded that a post-mortem examination be done in India too.
Sarabjit Singh died in Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital early on Thursday.