"I never thought I would see my family again. I lived in constant fear of dying on Pakistani soil,” 53-year-old Yellamilli Kejiamani said, with tears welling up in her eyes.
Kejiamani, who had a harrowing time for most part of the 17 years she was forced to spend on the Pakistani soil, said that “Faith in God was like a beacon that guided me during the turbulent times. It’s due to God’s grace that I could come back.”
Kejiamani, a Christian from Sakinetpalli village in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh returned to an emotional welcome from her family and others in this quiet coastal village after 23 years (she was in Kuwait for over six years before being taken to Pakistan).
Her pastor husband and two sons had given her up for dead as there was no news from her after Iraq invaded Kuwait, where Kejiamani was working as a maid since 1984.
Said her younger son Mani, who was five when she left home, "I will take care of my mother now. She has suffered a lot. So have I.” Mani is now studying for an MA degree.
Her other son works in Qatar and is eager to come back to meet his mother. Would she like to go abroad again? “No more foreign trips. I will stay put in the village till the end of life,” she said.
Kejiamani doesn’t want to talk about her captivity in Pakistan. But reports say that one Riaz took her to Pakistan from Kuwait where both were working. After reaching Lahore, Riaz reportedly took away all her belongings, burnt her passport and tortured her before throwing her out, barely six months after she had reached Pakistan.
Muhammad Amin, a cook, took her to his native village in Sahiwal district in Pakistan and later contacted her family.
Her case also reached the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which wrote to the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad on September 24.
A visa was issued immediately and she returned home last week. But her problems are not over yet. She has to initiate the process of regaining her Indian citizenship, which she lost on obtaining a Pakistani passport in the name of “Ayesha”.
She hopes the authorities will expedite the whole process so that she can regain her peace of mind.