‘Forced to live without light and sound’: Bareilly man recounts Pakistan jail horrors
It has been more than four years since Yashpal, a labourer from Padera village nearly 40 kms from Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh, was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore (Pakistan) after serving a three-year term.india Updated: Apr 14, 2017 09:49 IST
Ask him his name and you will get the reply – “Pakistan”.
It has been more than four years since Yashpal, a labourer from Padera village nearly 40 kms from Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh, was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore (Pakistan) after serving a three-year term.
Yashpal still visits the outpatient department (OPD) of the mental hospital at Bareilly for treatment. “Kot Lakhpat Jail is a torturing dungeon,” he recalls. It is the same jail where Sarabjit Singh, an Indian national convicted of spying, was attacked and killed in 2013.
“Prisoners, especially Indians, live under traumatic conditions. Majority of them are forced to live in dark cells of 2x2 feet that are light and sound proof,” he said.
“Only those have stayed in these cells know the pain and agony of the prisoners. It affects one’s mind so much so that it takes a few days to return to normal after one is out of the cell. It is next to impossible to come out mentally sound,” said Yashpal.
“Other than dark cells, there are many ways to torture prisoners. These including caning till the time one falls unconscious, feeding water through nose and electric shocks. Besides, lobbying is another major factor that adds to the woes of Indian prisoners,” he said.
“Pakistani prisoners enjoy the complete patronage of jail administrators. They are free to attack any Indian prisoner or torture them,” said Yashpal, recollecting the horrors he underwent.
“Sarabjit ‘bhaiya’ also succumbed to the same torture,” he said. Sarabjit died on May 2, 2013, the same month Yashpal completed his term.
Yashpal’s father Baburam said the family was not aware of his arrest until a letter from a Pakistani national Mohammed Yusuf Bhatt reached them in 2012.
Baburam, an agricultural labour, said Yashpal had left home in 2008 for Delhi to look for work. “From 2009 onwards, Yashpal stopped responding to our letters,” he said.
Yashpal’s mother Maya said a Bareilly-based NGO Jagar Society, run by Prof Pradeep Kumar, turned out to be the saviour. “Jagar Society pursued the matter with the authorities in Pakistan from where the final date of Yashpal’s release was procured,” said Maya. Prof Pradeep Kumar said when Yashpal was released, he could recall only three words — Delhi, Pakistan and India.
“Yashpal was tortured so much so that he couldn’t recall anything else, not even his father. The Indian government hardly pursues the cases of Indian under trials in Pakistan jails. It should formulate a policy to keep a check on such cases,” he said.