Sarabjit's kin get his belongings, minus his diary

Attari (Punjab), Nov 28 : Belongings of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner who was murdered in Lahore's high-security Kot Lakhpat jail May this year, were handed over to his family Thursday at the Attari-Wagah border crossing.

The family said that some of his things, especially the diary that he wrote in 22 years of captivity in Pakistan, were not among the things returned to the kin.

The belongings, loaded in three boxes, were brought to the border gates, 30 km from Amritsar, by the Indian high commission officials from Islamabad. These were handed over to them by Pakistani authorities earlier this week.

Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur, wife Sukhpreet and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam, along with other relatives and villagers from Bhikhiwind in Punjab received the belongings. The family could be seen in tears as the members saw the belongings.

"I had longed for the day to receive Sarabjit at the border gate. But he was killed before that could happen. The Pakistani authorities betrayed us," Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur said in a choked voice.

"I appeal to the government of India to ensure that his diary is returned by the Pakistani authorities," she told media.

The belongings were handed over after customs officials checked them. The belongings included his wrist watch, blanket, clothes, spectacles and other items.

District administration officials from Amritsar were present when the belongings were handed over.

Sarabjit, 49, received fatal injuries in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail April 26 when he was brutally assaulted by fellow prisoners with bricks and sharp-edged objects. He passed away due to the injuries May 2.

He had been arrested in Pakistan after crossing the international border in an inebriated state August 1990.

He was charged with being an Indian spy who carried out bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan in 1990, which left 14 people dead and many others injured. He was sentenced to death by Pakistani courts, but his hanging was stayed indefinitely in April 2009.

Pakistani security agencies claimed he was Manjit Singh, the man responsible for the blasts.

His family, however, maintained that his was a case of mistaken identity, and Sarabjit had nothing to do with the blasts. Dalbir Kaur had campaigned aggressively in the last few years to secure his release, but he was killed in the attack by fellow prisoners before he could be freed.

--IANS (Posted on 28-11-2013)

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