Published On: Tue, Nov 14th, 2017

Send Jagtar Singh Johal back to the UK-Preet Gill MP

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preet gill mpEdgbaston (UK) Edgbaston MP Preet Gill has called on India to return a British man who was arrested while on holiday and accused of “influencing the youth through social media”.The Sikh Federation UK said Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, Scotland, had a sack thrown over his head and was forced into a van by plain-clothes officers on November 4.

The 30-year-old had gone to India to get married, and he was reportedly out shopping with his wife and cousin when the incident happened in Jalandhar, in the state of Punjab.Mr Johal’s crimes supposedly include “running a magazine” in the UK about atrocities during the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in India, and “influencing the youth through social media”.Ms Gill (Lab Birmingham Edgbaston), chair of the all-party Parliamentary group for British Sikhs, has written to Home Secretary Boris Johnson asking him to intervene, as well as the Indian High Commission to the UK.

Edgbaston MP Preet Gill said: “People are really concerned because he went to India to get married and their car was stopped, he was hooded and put into a car and all he was told was that he would be taken away.”There was no information about what he is meant to have done or what he is being charged with.”Mr Johal appeared in court for a second time on Friday with no legal representation, after his solicitor and the British consulate in India were excluded.Ms Gill said the charges appeared to relate to campaigning Mr Johal had been involved in while in the UK. He should be returned to the UK and receive a fair trial if there was evidence against him, she said.She said: “What we hear now is that he is being charged with some sort of act of terrorism, but nobody really knows.

“If it really is the case that India believes he was involved in some sort of act of terrorism then India surely has a duty to inform the UK, for our own security.”She added: “We have 1.3m Indians living in the UK. They want to know that they can go back to India without having this kind of interrogation and being treated in this way.”

The Parliamentary group, which includes MPs and members of the House of Lords from different parties and different religions, shared her concerns, she said.Mr Johal is due to appear for another hearing on Tuesday, although the federation said his name has not appeared on any charge. His lawyers have applied for emergency visitation.Elder brother Gurpreet Singh Johal said: “Unless the British authorities quickly step in this will guarantee a law-abiding British citizen will be illegally detained for some time and will not receive a fair trial. He should be immediately released and returned to the UK.”A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are in contact with the family of a British man who has been detained in India.”Our staff are in contact with the Indian authorities regarding his case.”The Sikh Federation UK has been acting as Mr Johal’s representative since his arrest and is providing support to his relatives.Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, has also been supporting the family.He said: “I am deeply concerned about the circumstances of Jagtar Singh Johal’s arrest and imprisonment in India.”

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