India’s human rights record when it comes to foreign prisoners has been horrific. Yesterday, another incident joined the ranks of tragedy in Indian prisons, when a Pakistan fisherman, after languishing in an Indian jail for a year and a half, was beaten to death by the jail staff. The fisherman had been arrested at sea by the Indian coastguard during a fishing trip along with six other fishermen when their trawler drifted to the Indian side by mistake.

According to the Pakistan Fisherman Folk (FFK), the fisherman had been an elderly person hailing from the Rohingya community. His accidental blunder during one trip of fishing had led him to reach Indian waters by mistake- a mistake that would cost him one year of torture in Indian prison, and eventually death by beating.

Due to the land and water borders that India and Pakistan share, it is common for nationals of both countries to cross the borders and stray into international waters by mistake. These are innocent individuals who reach the other country’s territories by mistake- in fact, a Bilateral agreement was signed between India and Pakistan partly to address the problem of fisherman accidentally straying into national waters, and to allow those nationals easy passage back into their home country. Such border crossings are not a matter of national security and each country should not have a problem ensuring the nationals are sent back, or at least not harassed.

Considering that India recently complained to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the treatment of Indian national and spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, India should cover its head in shame at the fact that it itself allowed an innocent elderly fisherman to be tortured to death. Every Pakistani life is valuable, and we expect the Indian Minister of External Affairs to promptly explain and apologise for this huge misstep.