Mistaken as terrorist, Punjab man tortured, deported from Thailand

February 17th, 2009 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Mohali (Punjab), Feb 17 (IANS) A leisure trip with friends to Thailand turned into Punjab resident Paramjit Singh’s worst nightmare after he landed at the Bangkok airport - he was mistaken for a Sikh terrorist.

Paramjit happens to share his name with Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who is on Interpol’s blacklist. And so, once he touched down in Bangkok Feb 1, his troubles started.

Thailand police immediately arrested him at the airport, said Paramjit, who is now back home in Mohali. He alleged that he was kept in custody and tortured badly by police for over 12 hours before finally being deported to India.

“They did not understand my language and I was also unable to understand what they were saying. I even showed them my passport but they kept on beating me like an animal. They also snatched my driving licence and purse that contained US$1,100 and did not return it,” Paramjit Singh, 35, who runs his own business here told IANS.

“Then finally, they deported me to India on the same night by giving me a certificate that reads ‘Entry of Paramjit Singh Panjwar is banned in Thailand from Sep 6 1995 to Sep 6 2095′. My friends who were accompanying me to Bangkok were not told about my whereabouts,” said Singh.

His tale of woes did not end there as on reaching the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in New Delhi he was again arrested by customs officials on the basis of the report they got from Thailand, he alleged.

“The officials at IGI airport questioned me for the whole night Feb 2 and a senior official among them threatened to put me behind bars. Many times I fainted during the interrogation but nobody called any doctor,” said Paramjit.

Now a Chandigarh-based NGO, Global Human Rights Council (GHRC), has come to his aid and registered a complaint with the general secretary of United Nations in the case.

“This is an example of sheer violation of human rights. We have lodged a complaint against Thai Airways International, superintendent of police of the Thai international airport and secretary of the Indian ministry of external affairs with the UN,” said Arvind Thakur, chairman of GHRC Tuesday.

“We have also brought this issue to the notice of Amnesty International and demanded a compensation of $1 million for the victim,” Thakur said.

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