Birmingham & Black Country

India terror suspect 'to carry on as Sikh activist'

Paramjeet Singh Saini
Image caption Paramjeet Singh Saini returned to the UK over the weekend

A UK terror suspect freed after being detained on holiday in Portugal has said he will continue to be an activist for Sikh political prisoners.

Paramjeet Singh Saini spent eight weeks in a Portuguese jail, but returned home to the West Midlands over the weekend.

He has been fighting extradition to India over his alleged involvement in the murder of a Sikh politician in 2009 and bomb attacks in India in 2010.

His detention was a "consequence of the Indian state" against him, he said.

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His family has always maintained the arrest and detention was politically motivated and a breach of his human rights.

The father-of-four came to the UK about 13 years ago and was granted refugee status to stay in the UK until 2023, along with his family.

Image caption Mr Saini said he would be celebrating his release with friends and family

Indian authorities have alleged he was a leading member of Babbar Khalsa International, a Sikh separatist group banned in the UK under anti-terror laws, and suspect he was involved in the fatal shooting of politician Rulda Singh.

Mr Saini, from Smethwick, was arrested in 2010 by West Midlands Police, as part of a joint investigation with Indian police, and later released without charge.

Warley Labour MP John Spellar said Mr Saini's lawyer had told him the Portuguese government had rejected the case.

Mr Saini told BBC News he was stressed in jail and his release was a "big relief".

Image caption Warley Labour MP John Spellar has been told the Portuguese government has rejected the case against Mr Saini

Now back home, he said he wanted to carry on with his life after celebrating with friends and his family.

"In India we are - the Sikh nation - going through very bad times. So many people are being detained in India for no reason as political prisoners.

"We are working for them. I'm an activist. I will carry on with my life as an activist in the UK... but in a legal way."

In October, Sikh Jagmeet Singh interrupted the presenter of BBC One's Sunday Morning Live programme to complain at a lack of media coverage over the deaths of two Sikh protesters in the Punjab.

Their deaths came as Sikhs protested because a torn-up copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib - Sikhism's holy book - was found in a village in Faridkot district.

That sparked further protests in the state and 52 people being arrested over the desecration.

Last June, 82-year-old Bappu Surat Singh Khalsa went on a hunger strike for more than 150 days to campaign for the release of Sikh prisoners in the Punjab who have completed their terms for political crimes but remain in jail.

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