The case of British resident Paramjeet Singh being arrested by Interpol in Portugal this week has been widely covered by Indian media. Unfortunately, much of this coverage is clearly biased against Paramjeet. Phrases such as “militant” and “terrorist” used to describe Paramjeet are both unfounded and unfair.
These terms should cannot be attributed to a man that is yet to be found guilty of any crime, even after being arrested for the same reason by British police in 2010 (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/Four-UK-Sikhs-arrested-for-Rulda-Singh-murder/articleshow/6166763.cms).
It must also be noted that Paramjeet was given asylum under refugee status in the UK. Paramjeet was wanted for questioning by Indian authorities but after his brother was severely tortured whilst in jail and then killed in India, it was deemed that Paramjeet was not safe in India and thus was officially awarded the right to stay in the UK indefinitely in 2004.
Paramjeet has since lived a completely law-abiding life in the UK, working and raising his young family.
Here Sikh PA highlight the unbalanced coverage around this situation.
NOTE – Indian media have been spelling the accused’s name as Paramjit but according to the UK electoral register the actual spelling is Paramjeet. He is also referred to as Pamma which is attributed as his surname.
In this article published on December 21st, Paramjeet is described as a “militant”, despite having faced no charges for any crime. The article also implicates Paramjeet with certain crimes but mentions that sources from the Patiala police had “no information”, whilst Mohali police were “yet to contact authorities” about the situation.
In this article published on December 20th, Paramjeet is called both a “militant” and a “Khalistani terrorist” repeatedly. As mentioned, Paramjeet has never been convicted for any such crime and thus calling him a “terrorist” is inaccurate and clearly biased reporting.
This article published on December 19th not only labels Paramjeet as a “Khalistani terrorist” but also states that he was “a key conspirator of the 2010 high-velocity twin bomb blasts in Patiala and Ambala and the mastermind of the 2009 killing of Rulda Singh”. This is said despite the fact that an 11 month investigation involving British and Indian police in 2010 found no evidence of Paramjeet’s involvement in any such activities. There are also mentions of outlandish claims that involve UK based Sikhs based on an unverified “police source” who is unnamed. The article also seems to question Paramjeet’s UK status by writing he is staying in Britain on “political asylum”, put in speech marks without reference to whom was quoted or why it is in speech marks.
This article states “Indian media” as the only source for describing Paramjeet as a “hardline Sikh activist”. The article also states Singh has four children aged between 7-11, which according to Sikh PA sources is inaccurate, with the children aged between 4-12.