It has been confirmed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that Indian national Gurdip Singh has not been executed in Indonesia. Gurdip Singh was arrested and sentenced to death on the charges of drug peddling for which he was supposed to be executed last night.
The 48 year old Gurdip Singh was one of the 14 convicts who were sentenced under drug charges. He was caught with 300 grams of heroin and was sentenced to death in 2005. However, Singh maintained that he was deceived by an agent. The agent had promised him job in New Zealand, but had abandoned in Indonesia. He was to face the firing squad on Thursday night. But, Sushma Swaraj disclosed on Twitter “Indian Ambassador in Indonesia has informed me that Gurdip Singh whose execution was fixed for last night, has not been executed.”
Indian officials had been relentlessly pursuing for the pardoning of Singh to prevent him from being executed. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had reveled on Thursday that the government has been constantly approaching the officials at Jakarta for the issue. Stating that Indian government is leaving no stones unturned in its last minute efforts, Ms Sushma Swaraj said, “Afdhal Muhammad, the legal representative of Singh was of the view that he can file for Presidential clemency under the relevant law before the President of Indonesia. The Embassy sent a Note Verbale to Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry requesting that all legal recourse should be exhausted before the death penalty is carried out.”
Meanwhile, Sing’s wife Kulwinder said that she was grateful to MEA personnel and Ms Swaraj that they were putting in sincere efforts to ensure the safety of her husband. She said, “We want him to be back.” She also asserted that her husband was deceived by drug mafias. She said, “Though Gurdip left home to go to New Zealand in 2002, but he landed in Indonesia. The travel agents there snatched his passport and forced him to be part of a drug cartel.”
Gurdip Singh is a resident of Jalandhar, Punjab along with 14 other center of media and human rights activists’ attention when Indonesia decided to restore the Capital Punishment for drug peddling. The prisoners were mostly of foreign nationals belonging to Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Indonesia. The human right activists across the globe appealed for clemency of the inmates arguing that the prisoners should not be given capital punishment on the humanitarian grounds. But Indonesian President Joko Widodo vehemently defended the decision saying that it is necessary step in fight against drugs. He persisted that the drug traffickers should be given capital punishment to set example and control the vice.
Singh was arrested at the Soekarno Hatta Airport on August 29, 2004 with 300 grams of cocaine. He was charged with drug trafficking for which the Tangerang Court gave him capital punishment in February 2995. Although his prosecutor appealed for 20 years of imprisonment, the court persisted on capital punishment. Later on Singh moved to Supreme Court after being turned down by the High Court. But the apex court too upheld the capital punishment and he was held at Nusakambangan Pasir Putih, Cilacap till currently. Previousy, it was in 2014 that eight drug traffickers were put to death under law. Talking about the capital punishment Deputy Attorney-General Noor Rachmad said that it is necessary to control the crime. “It was not a pleasant thing but it was to implement the law. The executions are only aimed at halting drug crimes,” he said.
MEA’s success in saving Singh from gallows has been lauded as incredible by the people across the globe. The family of Gurdip Singh is in jubilant state since hearing the news of his pardoning. His family at Nankodar, Jalandhar were reportedly distributing sweets and celebrating his safety. Singh had called his family at 7.45 in the morning to convey his safety. Speaking to his wife over the phone he said, “Tera Gurdip bach gaya, chamtkar ho gaya. Mainu tan le gaye see shoot karan vaste, but 5-7 minutes pata ni ki hoya te mainu vapis bula leya te kiha ki innu shoot ni karna. Indian Government ne Bahut saath dita te Agge v mera khyal rakhyo (Your Gurdip has been spared, it’s a miracle. I was taken to firing squad, but within 5-7 minutes something happened and I was called back. It was all because of efforts of the Indian government).”
Singh had reportedly called again at 8.45 am to express his immense gratitude towards Sushma Swaraj, MEA officials and the media who had taken up on his cause. Recalling their conversation, Kulwinder said, “He told me that he will go back to the same jail from where he was brought for execution and from there he will call us. He asked the well being of all in the family and his children.”
Singh’s son Sukhbir Singh articulated his relief and happiness saying, “Now I can see my father and live with him.” he went on to add that from now on he will not allow his father to go to foreign countries.
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