THE fiancee of the Scots ex-soldier imprisoned in India on firearms offences is to meet India's High Commissioner to the UK today in a fresh bid to get his release.

Billy Irving, 37, from Connel, Argyll and Bute, and five other British anti-piracy security guards were jailed for five years last January for possession of illegal weapons after they were arrested while aboard the ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio.

Now Mr Irving's partner Yvonne MacHugh who has raised fears for the imprisoned men's lives after a fellow inmate was viciously attacked by medical staff and forced into a mental hospital hopes the meeting with Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha will help bring the so-called Chennai Six home.

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Her trip to London today comes as plans are in place to launch a protest outside the High Commission of India in London over the men's treatment and calling for them to be returned home.

The Chennai Six and nearly 30 others were apprehended after their ship strayed into Indian waters without permission in October, 2012 - and despite producing papers that confirmed their weapons were held legally, they were jailed.

Ms MacHugh, from Neilston, Renfrewshire who is also due to meet Foreign Office officials during her trip said: "I want him to see those men as people, they are not just a number in a prison. They have said in India that they are a threat to national security. I want him to explain how they could be a threat.  I want him to explain why the government still want to hold these men.


"I want them to explain why they think they are guilty of something when they have clearly seen the evidence proving their innocence and why they are putting 35 families through absolute hell for all these years."

Former colleagues of Mr Irving in the Parachute Regiment have set a date of April 24 for their "peaceful protest" in London urging them to be allowed home.

A protest group spokesman said: "We are all heading to London to tell the world about this travesty of justice. Come and join us and bring your British flags and regimental colours.

"These six innocent war veterans are professional men being used in a politic(al) row between these two countries."


In November, Theresa May was told to let more Indians into Britain or miss out on trade deals with the Delhi government, in a continuing row between the country over immigration controls.

Ms MacHugh said she will discuss the demonstration with the High Commissioner and is also expected to raise the conditions the men are being held in in Puzhal Prison, near Chennai.

"If he does something about the situation the men are in between now and then there will be no need for a protest," said the 28-year-old. "But he can't turn around after the protest and say that he is sorry he knew nothing about it."