Shortly after Haryana Chief Minister urged MoS MEA Meenakshi Lekhi for her urgent intervention in the release of Vishal Jood, who is currently lodged in an Australian prison, the father of the boy, Nathi Ram, spoke to Republic TV on Sunday. While stating that all efforts are being made to bring Vishal Jood back to India, Nathi Ram said, "Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is trying to do every possible thing to speed up my son's release."
Nathi Ram said, "I want that my son should be released as soon as possible. I also want that all the allegations, which have been pressed against him should be removed. Proper investigation should be initiated against those, who physically assaulted the person, who was hoisting the Indian National Flag."
Stating that this was not Vishal Jood's personal fight, his father said that he had fought this for the respect and dignity of his country, India. He said, "This is the only reason, why so many people are campaigning for his support in India." Appealing to the Australian government to release his soon as soon as possible, Nathi Ram said that Vishal is not being treated fairly inside the Australian prison. "Vishal is not being given food on time and he is often threatened by the Khalistanis lodging in the jail," he added.
Earlier, CM Manohar Lal Khattar wrote a letter to the Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture Meenakshi Lekhi over Kurukshetra youth Vishal Jood's release. Vishal Jood is currently lodged in an Australian prison since April 2021 over charges of being involved in an assault in Sydney.
Urging Lekhi's high priority intervention to secure justice for a 'Son of Haryana' in Australia, Manohar Lal Khattar has written that he has received representations from various quarters including his family who have conveyed to him that Vishal Jood got into a tussle with a group, that was raising anti-Indian slogans and even desecrating the Indian national flag and these groups have subsequently framed him on false charges.
In the letter, the Haryana Chief Minister has further highlighted that he had also held a virtual meeting with some representatives of the Indian diaspora in Australia, who are backing Jood and have started a campaign there, to get him released from jail, as early as possible.
Vishal Jood, who was studying in Australia, was arrested on April 16 in Sydney for alleged hate speech and role in three suspected hate crimes, including clashes between Haryanvi youths and members of the Sikh community at Harris Park in Sydney in March and April this year. Several videos of the clashes at Harris Park had surfaced on social media.
They claim that Jood was arrested for saving the Indian flag from a pro-Khalistan group, but the police have said that Jood was arrested for three incidents. These include the February 28 attacks on Sikhs in which baseball bats, rods, sticks, and other weapons were used. The police said that the group of Sikhs who were attacked on February 28 had earlier participated in an anti-farm laws protest in Australia.
As per New South Wales police, Vishal Jood was charged with "3 counts of affray, 3 counts of armed with a weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, 2 counts of destroying or damage property and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in the company of others".
There have been protests and demonstrations in various parts of Haryana and north India in support of Jood and there is strong public sentiment for his early release, he added. Khattar has raised the concern earlier too with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar seeking his intervention in securing the release of Jood from a prison in Australia.
(Image: Twitter, Republicworld.com)