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Pakistani prisoner attacked in Indian jail

Prison officials rule out link to death of convicted spy

Swati Deb, New Delhi

May 3, 2013

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A Pakistani prisoner at a jail in Jammu and Kashmir was seriously injured today following an attack by a fellow inmate, authorities say.

The attack comes a day after Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in a prison in Pakistan triggering angry protests in India.

Sanaullah Haq suffered serious head injuries and was taken to a government-run hospital.

He was to be moved to a specialized hospital in neighboring Chandigarh, according to Sajjad Kitchloo, the state home minister.

He said Haq, 52, was reportedly attacked with pickaxe in Jammu’s central Kot Balwal jail and was now in a coma.

The superintendent of the jail has been suspended and the state government has ordered a probe into the incident, Kitchloo added.

Haq was arrested in 1999 in connection with five terror-related cases and convicted for his role in a bus bombing in 1994 which killed 10 people.

Even though the assault on Haq is been reportedly linked with the attack on Singh and his subsequent death yesterday, prison authorities have refused to draw any connection between the two incidents and that the attack did not appear to be premeditated.

“The attack on Haq need not be related to Singh’s death. We have several Pakistani prisoners and these scuffles are often reported despite our best efforts and adequate security measures,” said a jail official on condition of anonymity.

Islamabad has called on India to boost security for up to 300 Pakistani prisoners currently serving sentences in Indian jails.  

“The Pakistan high commission has written to the Indian External Affairs Ministry seeking additional security for Pakistani prisoners in India. We are deeply concerned about the incident in Jammu jail,” a high commission spokesman said today.

Pakistan has also sought consular access to the injured Haq.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people were gathering for the funeral today of Singh, who died as a result of an attack by inmates in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, Pakistan, on April 26.

He was due to be cremated in his home village in the Punjab in northern India.

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