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 29, 2014 -- Updated 0943 GMT (1743 HKT)
The missing AirAsia jet probably crashed into the sea, Indonesia's top rescue official said Monday, citing radar data from the plane's last contact.
December 29, 2014 -- Updated 0850 GMT (1650 HKT)
Here are four ways the two incidents appear to differ.
December 29, 2014 -- Updated 0944 GMT (1744 HKT)
Hundreds of passengers have endured a freezing night on a ferry, more than 24 hours after a fire broke out on the vessel in the Adriatic Sea.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist and fatherof the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
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