Glasgow & West Scotland

Scots activist arrested in India for online 'influence'

Jagtar Singh Johal
Image caption Jagtar Singh Johal was allegedly forced into a van and arrested by Punjab police

A Scots activist has been arrested in India over claims he was "influencing the youth through social media", according to a Sikh group.

Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton was forced into a van by police on 4 November, the Sikh Federation UK said.

The Scottish-born man, 30, was reportedly in India's Punjab region with his family ahead of his wedding.

The group fear he is be targeted because of his work highlighting the Sikh genocide in 1984.

He was in court on Sunday and was expected to appear again on Friday, but has not.

He was reportedly out shopping with his wife and cousin when the incident happened in Jalandhar in the state of Punjab.

Mr Johal's crimes reportedly include "running a magazine" in the UK of atrocities during the 1984 Sikh Genocide and "influencing the youth through social media".

His whereabouts and condition remain unknown, the Sikh Federation said.

His elder brother Gurpreet Singh Johal said: "Unless the British authorities quickly step in this will guarantee a law-abiding British citizen will be illegally detained for some time and will not receive a fair trial.

"He should be immediately released and returned to the UK."

Lack of information

Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, has been supporting the family.

He said: "I am deeply concerned about the circumstances of Jagtar Singh Johal's arrest and imprisonment in India.

"This has been an extremely distressing time for my constituent's family and I am doing everything in my power to support them as their Member of Parliament.

"The lack of information being given to Jagtar's family by the police and judicial authorities in Delhi following his arrest is alarming.

"I have raised this as a matter of urgency with the British High Commission of India and the Foreign Office."

He said he would contact the Foreign Secretary and the Scottish government to ensure Jagtar is not mistreated.

"This is an extremely serious matter and I hope my constituents will be fully supported in their efforts to secure a positive outcome," he added.

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