One of the famous associations called as North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) has stated that an Indian-origin Sikh boy, recognized as Simratpal Singh (21), lived his last breath in the custody of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at La Paz County Jail on May 3 in the year 2019. The main reason of death had not been ascertained, it added.
Executive director, NAPA, Satnam Singh Chahal revealed this to the media here on Monday. In the month of January, the NAPA had raised a query to the ICE under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to the cause of Simratpal’s death.
In its response dated March 2, the ICE stated, “Due to the open status of ongoing investigations, the ICE has determined that the whole information you are requesting is with holdable in its entirety. The release of basic information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
Tarn Taran settler Simratpal had gone to the US via Mexico in the month of December 2018. Chahal stated that Simratpal was sent to the ICE’s custody on May 2, 2019, was lodged at the La Paz County Jail while he awaited full transfer to an ICE facility. During his detention, jail officials found that he was unresponsive.
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“As per the ICE authorities, Simratpal was transported to La Paz Regional Hospital in Parker of Arizona. Subsequently, he was then airlifted to a hospital in Goodyear of Arizona, where doctors confirmed his death on May 3, 2019. The ICE said it had notified the Indian consulate about the death,” the NAPA executive director added.
Sister of Simratpal, a resident of Tarn Taran’s Bachre village, said, “After his arrest in Arizona, we had fully furnished a Rs 53 lakh bond for his release. He was fully accused of sexual assault, the charge he denied. We demand access to different types of cameras installed in a bus where the alleged sexual assault took place.”