The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday confirmed that two Indian nationals from Punjab were beheaded in Saudi Arabia.

The two Indians, Satwinder Kumar of Hoshiarpur and Harjeet Singh of Ludhiana, were beheaded on 28 February. But the MEA said that it was not informed of the execution by Saudi authorities.

Kumar and Singh were executed for murdering another Indian in the Kingdom.

The statement came after a petition was filed by Satwinder’s wife, Seema Rani. She was told by the MEA that the Saudi government, as per its system, will issued death certificates only and not the mortal remains.

A livid Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh slammed the Centre for not only failing to prevent the execution but also not disclosing it earlier.

The Punjab CM also expressed shock at the “barbaric and inhuman” act by the Saudi authorities. According to reports, Singh said he will approach Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj for more information on the execution.

“If the executions were undertaken without prior information even to the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, with the victims not provided legal counsel, it amounted to a grave violation of human rights,” the Punjab Chief Minister said in a statement on Wednesday.

He called upon the UN and other global human rights organisations to take serious cognisance of the incident and pressure Saudi Arabia “to end its ancient and blatantly illegal practices which were against all norms of humanity”.

Satwinder and Harjeet were arrested on 9 December 2015 on charges of murdering Arif Imamuddin over a dispute on distribution of money.

The confirmation of the execution came after the Centre was issued a notice by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case. Seema Rani had approached the court when she did not get a satisfactory response from the MEA regarding the incident.

According to reports, the MEA had on 3 March requested Saudi authorities for providing information about the mortal remains of the two. A reminder was sent on 14 March when no response was received on the earlier request.