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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Prisoner returns after Pak ordeal

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, April 09, 2013
First Published: 21:11 IST(9/4/2013) | Last Updated: 00:30 IST(10/4/2013)

It was the reunion of reunions, and the longer wait made it even sweeter.

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When Ram Kumar along with 18 other Indian nationals was repatriated by Pakistan through the Attari border on August 14, 2007, there were no joyous scenes on this side of the border. No misty-eyed relatives, no garlands, no welcome embrace.

On Tuesday, hugging his brother Shiv Kumar in Amritsar for the first time in 20 years, Ram, 45, told his story stranger than fiction.

That day in 2007, Ram could not taste his new-found freedom. It is believed years of torture had taken its toll and he had lost his memory. So much so he couldn't tell who he was, who were there in his family or where they lived.

With not much else to do, the authorities admitted Ram to the Vidya Sagar Institute of Mental Health, Amritsar.

Ram's story would have ended here had it not been for his miraculous recovery a couple of days ago. All of a sudden he could remember things and one day he gave hospital authorities his Hardoi (Uttar Pardesh) address. And on Tuesday, Ram went home with his brother and other family members.

"Just before Ram disappeared, he was in the company of some sadhus. He was 25 years old at the time," said Shiv. The family had no idea that Ram was a prisoner in Pakistan till a few days ago, when the Amritsar police wrote to them.

Ram, who still cannot recall his time in jail, said: "I want to forget my past. I want to lead a fresh life now."

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