The day after the story broke on Tuesday that Johal has commenced a legal case against the UK government in the high court accusing them of unlawful sharing of data about him, which he says directly led to his arrest in Rama Mandir, Punjab, on November 4, 2017, and subsequent “arbitray detention and torture” in Punjab, the National Sikh Police Association, which represents Sikh police officers throughout the UK, put out a statement saying it shared the Sikh community’s concerns that the UK security services provided details that led to his apprehension and to accusations of his torture.
“The National Sikh Police Association UK ((NSPAUK) puts on record that we have not conspired nor colluded with the Indian government nor with MI5/MI6 in any way which led to the apprehension or detention of Jagtar Singh Johal. These revelations must be met with strong community resolve and decisive action with the correct authorities if we are to successfully get justice for Jagtar,” it said.
It urged the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to lobby the relevant authorities to be granted access to Johal and to document his treatment.
This statement was met with disbelief and ridicule from some members of the UK Sikh community.
Dabinderjit Singh, adviser to the Sikh Federation UK, tweeted the statement was “ridiculous” given that the association was set up in February 2019 and that “denying colluding with Indian authorities in 2017 re Jaggi’s abduction & torture (sic)” indicates “a guilty conscience”.
The Free Jaggi Now Twitter handle tweeted: “Since Jaggi’s detention @nspauk have not once reached out to the campaign or the family, nor have they made direct or indirect statements related to Jaggi’s arbitrary detention. They do not have our best interests at heart.”
The Sikh Federation UK tweeted: “You have no mandate to represent the Sikh community or our issues, you’re an internal police network that has confused and betrayed the community with questionable actions. Your colleagues West Midlands Police are complicit in acting on and providing intel used to torture Jaggi! Question them!”
It was referring to counter-terrorism raids that took place at five Sikh households in the Midlands and London in September 2018.
All those whose homes were raided worked for the Free Jaggi campaign.
The Panthic Sikh jathebandie imposed a national ban on West Midlands Police using Sikh spaces for recruitment and promotion following outrage at the raids.
Sikh PA senior press officer Jasveer Singh said: “The NSPAUK’s statement triggered release of sentiments that have been around for years but became more publicised since the 2018 #5SinghsUK raids, which have been noted as happening due to information taken from the torture of Jaggi.”
The NSPAUK issued a statement Friday evening saying it was “astonishing that despite an independent report from a human rights organisation linking Jagtar Singh Johal’s apprehension and detention to information possibly provided to India by MI5/MI6 that some UK based Sikh groups still want to peddle the false narrative that the NSPA were somehow complicit”. It said NSPAUK have always maintained that “we have never been involved”.
“It may be an inconvenient truth for a handful of individuals that the NSPA aren’t involved,” it added.
Johal faces multiple charges in India of involvement in a spate of targeted killings in Punjab between 2016 and 2017, which he denies.