Skip to main content

Eye for an eye? Pakistani prisoner dies after beating

By Ben Brumfield and Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
May 9, 2013 -- Updated 0924 GMT (1724 HKT)
Kashmiri's protest against the attack on Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay in an Indian jail in Muzaffarabad on May 5, 2013.
Kashmiri's protest against the attack on Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay in an Indian jail in Muzaffarabad on May 5, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Some believe his killing was revenge for the killing of an Indian prisoner in Pakistan
  • CNN cannot confirm that the killings are related
  • The two killings accentuate deep-rooted tensions between the two countries
  • Both prisoners are beaten into comas before they die

New Delhi (CNN) -- A man from India died in Pakistan early last week from a beating he took in jail there days before. The day after his passing, a Pakistani inmate received a beating in an Indian prison.

He died Thursday, a government official in India said. Some are calling it a revenge attack, something that CNN cannot confirm.

Sarabjit Singh was incarcerated in Lahore, after a Pakistani court convicted him of spying for India in connection with terror attacks in Pakistan in 1991. Singh's family has maintained he was innocent.

He was sentenced to death.

Late last month Singh was hurt in "a scuffle with fellow inmates," according to Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry. The apparent dust up was intense enough to put him into a coma.

Indian inmate killed in Pakistan

When he died in a hospital, India's government expressed "great anguish" over the violence.

"This was, put simply, the killing of our citizen while in the custody of Pakistan jail authorities," the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

"The criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on him must be brought to justice," demanded Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a statement.

India's media erupted with indignation.

"India outraged over Sarabjit's murder" read a headline in The Pioneer.

"Sarabjit Singh butchered by our enemies," read another in The Times of India.

There were claims that the death row inmate's killing had been planned and reports that his organs went missing after his death.

Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs confirmed there was an autopsy. It is not unusual for a pathologist to remove organs in the process.

The postmortem revealed that Singh had died of cardiac arrest on May 2, caused by the trauma he had suffered, Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry said.

Counter attack?

On May 3, Pakistani citizen Sanaullah Ranjay was attacked in an Indian jail in Jammu and transferred in critical condition to a hospital in Chandigarh.

After days in a coma, he passed away Thursday.

"He had multiple organ failure due to severe head injury," the hospital said in a statement.

Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry reacted to Ranjay's death with indignation.

"The brutal manner in which Sanaullah was attacked in the jail is most unfortunate and a matter of deep concern for the Government of Pakistan," the ministry said in a statement.

Like their counterparts in India, they, too, demand an investigation into the prison killing and that the "perpetrators of this heinous crime be brought to justice."

There has been little media resonance about the Pakistani inmate's death in India.

Singh's remains have already been returned to India, where he was cremated, media there have reported.

According to Islamic custom, the body of a deceased person should be buried within 24 hours of death.

Indian and Pakistani diplomats have said they are in communication about transferring Ranjay's remains back to his native town of Sialkot in Pakistan.

History of strife

Although ties between New Delhi and Islamabad have improved since tensions flared in the aftermath of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the two deaths put a fresh strain on their delicate relations.

India and Pakistan have fought several wars since their independence from British colonial rule more than 65 years ago.

Though some may assume so, it is not yet clear if Ranjay's killing was revenge for Singh's. Many men have died of violence in jails.

READ MORE: India expresses 'anguish' over prisoner's death in Pakistan

CNN's Jethro Mullen, Shaan Khan and Saima Mohsin contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT