Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday urged union defence minister AK Antony to ask the union ministry of external affairs (MEA) to approach the Oman government for grant of amnesty to sepoy Jaspal Singh.
Jaspal, a sepoy of the Punjab Regiment, was recently traced in Oman, 41 years after he was declared "presumed killed in action" in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. In a letter to the defence minister, Badal informed Antony that the sepoy had been presumed dead since the war and his "widow" and children were granted special pension and other benefits, including 10 acres of land, by the Punjab government.
One Sukhdev Singh of Dugri Boormajra village in Rupnagar district came into contact with Jaspal at Masira, Oman's island jail, where the sepoy was sent on kitchen duty in August 2010. Jaspal approached him secretly and gave him details of his village, Pamour, in Fatehgarh Sahib district.
Badal said this providential identification of a "war hero" needed to be investigated "post haste" to establish the fact, and if it was found correct, the MEA may be urged to make efforts to bring Jaspal back home.