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Officials granted consular access to 17 Indians

Last updated on: March 30, 2010 20:46 IST

Indian consulate officials in Dubai were on Tuesday given access to 17 Indians sentenced to death for killing a Pakistani national in UAE, even as New Delhi described the development as "shocking" and promised legal assistance to them.

The government said it was awaiting a detailed report from its consulate in Dubai on the developments involving these Indians, majority of whom hail from Punjab.

All 17 were sentenced to death by Sharjah's Shariah court for killing a Pakistani and injuring three others in an alleged fight over illegal alcohol business.

In Dubai, India's consul-general Sanjay Verma told PTI, "We have been granted consular access to all Indians. They appear in good health. We are awaiting the detailed judgment and will explore legal options available thereafter."

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said "we will also try to find out in what other ways we can help them out to file an appeal in higher court."

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said "....see that everything should be done and give an important lawyer and also financial assistance to the accused and definitely, we will try to help these people who are in the need of government help.

"We will do that, I can assure you that. The death sentence to 17 people at a time is rather shocking. So, we have decided to give maximum possible help to them."

 Asked about the details, Ravi said, "I am still awaiting a detailed report from our mission but I have been told that majority of them belong to Punjab."

Observing that no written judgement was available so far, officials said "therefore, we don't know the details of the order. Once, we will get a copy of the judgment, we will proceed."

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