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Pakistani prisoner dies in Indian hospital

Killing strains uneasy relationship between two neighbors

Swati Deb, New Delhi
India

May 9, 2013

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A Pakistani prisoner attacked by a fellow inmate in a jail in Jammu and Kashmir last week has died in hospital, doctors say.

Sanaullah Haq Ranjay died in neighboring Chandigarh earlier today after suffering multiple organ failure.

Ranjay had been in coma since May 3 after being attacked by a former Indian army soldier convicted of murder following an argument in Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu, northern India.

The incident happened a day after Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in a Pakistani prison in Lahore after being attacked by fellow inmates a week earlier.  

Officials at the hospital in Chandigarh said Ranjay’s condition worsened on Wednesday after he developed kidney and liver problems.

Federal home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Ranjay’s body would be returned to Pakistan.

He 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.

Since the attack on Ranjay, the superintendent of Kot Bhalwal jail has been suspended and the state government has ordered a probe into the incident.

However, Pakistan has described the death as an extra-judicial killing and demanded enquiries at federal and international level.

"We have conveyed our concern to the Government of India in this regard and demanded that an investigation into the incident be held and perpetrators of this heinous crime be brought to justice," Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said.

The death of Sarabjit Singh and the subsequent attack on Ranjay have strained tense relations between the nuclear-armed rivals even further. Ranjay’s death today has brought calls for calm from several prominent figures including India’s former defense minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

 “India-Pakistan relations are very vital. Pakistan is not our enemy. I wish both governments now act with maturity. It is unfortunate that jingoism is coming in the place of sensibility,” he told ucanews.com.

The Supreme Court of India had yesterday asked the federal and the Jammu and Kashmir governments to explain as to why no steps were taken to prevent assault on the Pakistan prisoner.

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