Almost four years after Gopal Dass was freed after spending nearly 27 years in the Lahore Central Jail, he is yet to receive any form of rehabilitative initiative from the government.
Irked by the indifference shown by the government, Justice VP Vaish has summoned the secretary to the home ministry to appear before the court on April 13 to explain the steps taken in compliance of its order.
Advocate Arvind Sharma, who is representing Dass at the HC, said the stand taken by the Centre that Dass was never engaged by Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for espionage work in Pakistan complicated his plea for compensation for the 27 years he spent in Pakistani prisons.With no source of income and complete snub from the government, Dass is forced to survive on his wife’s earning who works in a hospital in Shimla.
The government turned a cold shoulder to him after he was released in April 2011. “Not a single official of the government has come to meet and ask what I need or how I was surviving,” he said.
Dass was provided with an immediate relief of Rs 4 lakh following an order of the Delhi high court in August last year. The HC had, in addition, ordered the home ministry to extend rehabilitative measures to him observing that the government was duty bound to take ameliorative steps in view of the circumstances of the case.
However, seven months later, the government is still to give to the court ‘possible measures’ that can be taken for his rehabilitation.
The Centre had said that Dass was not engaged in any clandestine activity during the relevant period and that he had mistakenly crossed over to the Pakistani side from where he was arrested by the Pakistani Border Security Force in July 1984. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage.
58-year-old Dass still maintains that he worked under the direction of the RAW between 1978 and 1984. In his petition, Dass has stated that he was given the code “Green” and assigned the number ‘65’ by RAW.