CHANDIGARH — Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday condemned as “totally barbaric and inhuman” the reported recent beheadings of two Punjabi men in Saudi Arabia and said he would seek a detailed report from India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
According to a media report, the two men, identified as Satwinder Kumar of Hoshiarpur and Harjeet Singh of Ludhiana, were executed in connection with a muder case.
Expressing shock and grief over the “vicious act”, which he claimed has been confirmed by the MEA to have taken place on 28 February, Singh said it was atrocious that such incidents continued to happen in civilised nations even today.
The chief minister also criticised the MEA “for failing to prevent, and then not disclosing the execution of the two men till it was forced to do so by a petition filed by Satwinder’s wife in Hoshiarpur district.”
Singh said he would approach External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for more details about the execution.
He said he would seek from the MEA information regarding the charges and would also question them on whether due legal representation was provided to the two men.
“If the executions were undertaken without prior information even to the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, with the victims not provided legal counsel, it amounted to a grave violation of human rights,” the chief minister said in a statement here Wednesday.
He called upon the UN and other global human rights organisations to take serious cognizance of the incident and pressure Saudi Arabia “to end its ancient and blatantly illegal practices which were against all norms of humanity”.
Referring to media reports that the families of the two men would not get the bodies due to restrictions in place in Saudi Arabia, the chief minister said he would seek Swaraj’s intervention to take up the matter with the Saudi authorities at the highest level.
That the families should be deprived of the chance even to see their deceased kin and perform the last rites makes the whole affair even more appalling and shocking, he added.
Recounting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given a warm welcome, breaking protocol, to the Saudi Crown Prince during his recent visit to India, Singh said given the friendly relations between the two leaders, bringing back the bodies should not be difficult for the MEA.
If needed, the prime minister himself should intervene to ensure the return of their mortal remains, he added.
The central government should also take steps to ensure that such incidents are not repeated and no Indian is denied justice or his/her legitimate right in any manner in the future, the chief minister said.