Kirpal Singh cremated in Punjab village

Gurdaspur (Punjab), April 20 (IANS) The mortal remains of Kirpal Singh, who died in a Lahore jail in suspicious circumstances last week, were consigned to flames at his village in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district on Wednesday amid a sombre environment.

Hundreds of people from the village and nearby areas joined the mournful family members, relatives and friends of Kirpal Singh at the cremation at Mustafabad village, about four km from the district’s Gurdaspur town, to bid farewell to him.

Gurdaspur is about 220 km from Chandigarh.

Kirpal’s sister Jagir Kaur and other family members were tearful and inconsolable at the cremation. Dalbir Kaur, sister of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who was also murdered in the same Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore in April 2013, also joined the mourners.

Kirpal Singh, 54, a former Indian serviceman, was lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail since 1992. He died on April 11. The family has maintained he had inadvertently crossed into Pakistan in 1992.

Pakistani authorities labelled him a spy and got him convicted for terror attacks in their country. He was initially sentenced to death which was later commuted to 20 years’ imprisonment.

While Pakistani authorities attributed his death to a heart attack, his family members alleged foul play. The family claims he was murdered either by fellow prisoners or prison officials in Pakistan.

Singh’s body was handed over to the Border Security Force (BSF) officials by Pakistani authorities in a coffin at the Attari-Wagah joint check post on Tuesday afternoon. Family members identified Kirpal Singh’s mortal remains.

Close relatives and residents from Kirpal Singh’s village were present at Attari, 30 km from Amritsar, when the body was brought back to India.

Family members alleged his body bore injury marks. But doctors who conducted an autopsy at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Amritsar denied it.

The medical board, which conducted the post-mortem examination, said there were no external or internal injury marks on the body.

After the post-mortem examination, Ashok Sharma, head of the three-member medical board, told media on Tuesday that the cause of death has not been established yet.

The doctor said some organs from his body were missing, as an autopsy had already been done in Pakistan.

“I can say with 100 percent accuracy that the wound marks which are inflicted during life, they cannot be removed. The cause of death has not been established yet,” Sharma added.

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