Lahore: Sarabjit Singh, who died on Thursday after being comatose for nearly a week following a brutal assault by fellow inmates, became the second Indian prisoner this year to die in Pakistan's notorious Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. Sarabjit, 49, who was serving a death sentence, was brutally attacked on Friday by six fellow inmates as he and other prisoners were brought out of their cells for a break.
He was hit on the head with bricks and was comatose in hospital till his death at the state-run Jinnah Hospital in Lahore. There have been instances in the past of prisoners being killed within the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail. In January, another Indian prisoner Chamel Singh had died in the same jail under suspicious circumstances.
Chamel, said to be in his sixties, was declared dead on arrival by doctors at the same state-run hospital where Sarabjit died. He was serving a five-year prison term for alleged involvement in espionage. Pakistani media at that time reported that the preliminary post-mortem report indicated torture inflicted on Chamel, a charge denied by the jail authorities.
The Kot Lakhpat jail houses more than four times the 4,000 prisoner capacity it was built for. Currently it has about 17,000 prisoners out of which at least 36 are Indian nationals. The Indian prisoners were last week interviewed by Indian members of an Indo-Pak judicial committee during a visit. Some prisoners complained that they were provided "virtually no security" before the attack on Sarabjit.
According to reports, the prisoners said that after the attack on Sarabjit, the jail staff have become active and does not allow other inmates to get close to them during breaks. The committee earlier visited Karachi and Rawalpindi and met Indian prisoners being held in jails in those cities.