Pakistani Authorities Humiliated Us Too: Sarabjit Singh’s Sister

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Chandigarh: Angered by the poor treatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife in Pakistan, a relative of the former Indian Navy officer said that the family was “even more depressed” than it had been before the visit.

“We are very disappointed and not in a mood to speak on the family’s Pakistan visit,” the relative told. The family members of Sarabjit Singh were humiliated when they went to meet him with Pakistani authorities even wiping off the ‘sindoor’ from his wife’s forehead, his sister Dalbir Kaur said today amid outrage over the treatment meted out to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife.

Dalbir Kaur said that Sarabjit Singh’s family had gone to meet him in a Lahore jail in 2008. Dalbir Kaur’s brother Sarabjit Singh had died following an assault by the inmates at a Lahore prison in April 2013. He was convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court and sentenced to death in 1991. However, the Pakistani government had stayed his execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

“We had no clue of the shocking things that were to unfold before our meeting with Sarabjit,” Dalbir Kaur, who is from Amritsar district, told over the phone.

Sarabjit Singh’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur, his teenaged daughters Swapandeep and Poonam, besides Dalbir Kaur went to Lahore to meet the Indian national for the first time in 18 years. The ordeal was similar to what Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family endured in Islamabad recently, according to Dalbir Kaur.

Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife were stripped of their bindis, bangles and ‘mangalsutra’, made to change into different clothes and wear slippers by discarding their shoes.

“Even before the meeting was to take place, the behavior of Pakistani authorities was bad. A female cop took out a handkerchief and wiped out the ‘sindoor’ from Sukhpreet’s forehead. Both Sukhpreet and I were asked to take out hair pins as well. Sarabjit’s teenaged daughters were also mistreated, and authorities were rude even after I raised objections. We were even asked to take out our ‘kadas’ (bracelets),” Dalbir Kaur said.

She recalled that as Sarabjit Singh loved “bharwan karela”, a bitter gourd dish, the family cooked it at their home in Amritsar and brought it for him. Dalbir Kaur said that in 2011 too she met Sarabjit Singh in jail. He died barely a few days later.

On the treatment meted out to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in custody in Pakistan for alleged spying, Dalbir Kaur said after playing a cruel joke by not allowing the family to meet the Indian national freely, Pakistan was now making baseless charges of a chip, camera or a recorder in the footwear of his wife.

“First Pakistan portrayed the meeting of Jadhav’s family as a humanitarian gesture, they then humiliated the family by asking them to remove bindis, mangal sutras etc and separated the family from him by putting up a glass screen. Now, they have come up with this baseless charge of chip, camera etc. I think India has responded as strongly and appropriately as it should in such circumstances. From now on, we should be even more firm towards Pakistan because they deserve such treatment and can only understand tough language,” she said.