After eight years in prison as Pakistani spy, Wasil Khan is now a free Indian.
The 42-year-old from the East Champaran district in Bihar on Friday had a happy and emotional reunion with family outside Central Jail in Amritsar. Wasil's elder sister, Mohazra Khatoon, and her husband, Shahid Khan, were in Amritsar jail to take him home. Wasil had won an identity battle after years. Elated after being set free, Wasil said: “I have maintained since Day One in prison that I am an Indian, and today it is proved. Had I died inside, I would have died an Indian.”
Eager to meet the rest of his family, Wasil said: “I hope to start life afresh and meet my friends and relative in Bihar. A lot of things have changed but I am happy to go home.”
Asked about his arrest, Wasil said: “I had come to Punjab for livelihood but the police arrested me from the Gurdaspur district in 2002 and branded me a Pakistani spy. Later, they accused me of many crimes such as bomb blast. All these years were tough but I'm glad it's over.”
Wasil has not planned if he will seek action against the Punjab Police officials who branded him Pakistani but his relatives said they would wait for reactions from the state authorities and the Union Government.
Wasil say the police should not change anyone's identity. They made papers to show that Wasil was from Karachi in Pakistan. He was framed in cases of murder and bomb blast. Since being captured, Wasil has been in the Punjab jails.
The police shifted him to Amritsar Central Jail a few months ago and kept him with other Pakistani nationals. In August, when a team from the Pakistani embassy went in for counselling prisoners from the neighbouring country, Wasil told it he was Indian.
Thereafter, the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner, Kahan Singh Pannu, investigated the matter and evidence from Wasil's family in Bihar proved that he was Indian indeed.
No case is pending against Wasil. Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court inquired into the matter and, a few days ago, issued orders to release Wasil.
Mohazra, Wasil's sister, waited a long time for this Friday. “It is a big day for my family, as my brother is out of jail. We are now keen to get him married. Newspapers informed us of his captivity in Punjab. He had left home after a minor altercation.”