Police custody extended for Scot held in India

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image captionMr Johal has been in custody in India since 4 November

Scottish Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal has been remanded in police custody in India for another two days.

Prosecutors told a court in Ludhiana that police wanted to question Mr Johal over the attempted murder of a Hindu nationalist group leader last year.

Mr Johal, from Dumbarton, has been held in custody in Punjab since 4 November, accused of conspiracy to murder prominent right-wing Hindu leaders.

He has also been accused of involvement in the murder of a Christian priest.

The 30-year-old denies the allegations.

The activist's lawyer, Jaspal Singh Manjpur, has previously accused the police of torturing his client.

'Deeply concerned'

The Scottish government said that it was "deeply concerned" about Mr Johal's detention, adding that Deputy First Minister John Swinney would raise the issue with Indian officials during his visit to India which began this weekend.

On Saturday, prosecutors told the court that Mr Johal's alleged involvement in the attempted murder of RSS leader Naresh Kumar in 2016 had just come to light.

Mr Kumar was shot at in Shahidi park in Ludhiana's Kidwayi Nagar area, but escaped unhurt.

The judicial magistrate ordered that Mr Johal be held in custody until Monday, when he is next due to appear in court.

Police custody

Prosecutors also asked the court to remand Mr Johal in police custody in connection with the murder of pastor Sultan Masih, who was shot dead in Salem Tabri by two unidentified assailants in July.

Arvind Chhabra, from the BBC's Punjabi service, said the court declined that demand and ordered that he instead be held in prison custody for two weeks.

That, however, made no difference to Mr Johal's custodial status as he will remain in police custody at least until Monday's court appearance.

A Scottish government spokesman said on Saturday: "We are deeply concerned about the detention of Jagtar Singh Johal.‎

"Scottish government officials have been in regular contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about this case.

"The deputy first minister‎ will raise this issue while he is in India on a four-day trip to strengthen education and business links, which officially started today."

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