Sarabjit’s body flown to Amritsar from Lahore

Amritsar: The body of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh was tonight brought here onboard a special Air India aircraft from Lahore, where he died following a murderous assault in a jail.

It was a grim end to the battle waged by his family to secure his release after he had spent over two decades in Pakistani jails as the plane landed at Rajasansi Airport where political leaders, including Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, were present to receive the body.

The body is to be taken to Government Hospital for autopsy and would be handed over to the family at village Bikhiwind for a state funeral tomorrow.

Punjab government has announced a financial assistance of Rs one crore for the family of Sarabjit and declared a three-day state mourning.

Flags will fly half mast on all government buildings and there will be no official ceremonial functions during this period, an official spokesman said.

The body was flown out of the Lahore International Airport after receiving clearance from Pakistani authorities.

Indian High Commission officials had earlier in the day received the body of Sarabjit after an autopsy was performed at the Jinnah Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries today at 1:30 AM (IST).

Sarabjit, the second Indian prisoner to die in Pakistan's notorious Kot Lakhpat jail here in Lahore this year, was brutally attacked on Friday by six fellow inmates when he and other prisoners were brought out of their cells for a break.

Sarabjit died of cardiac arrest after being comatose for nearly a week following the assault.

He was convicted of alleged involvement in bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

The previous Pakistan Peoples Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

Sarabjit's family says he was the victim of mistaken identity and had strayed across the border in an inebriated state.