12 years ago Benudhar Pardhan alias Meeru left his home in village Bhagirathpur (Odisha) in anger. Nobody knew where had gone and it was tragic and shocking for the family to find out 9 years later that he was in a jail in Pakistan. But then finally there was joy, when Benudhar's family met him in Amritsar after his release from Pakistan.
Meeru was sent to India along with 4 other Indian nationals in February. As no one had come to receive them, Amritsar administration had given them shelter in the Red Cross.
Hindustan Times had highlighted the issue and family members of these five started trickling in. Meeru reunited with his family, who had arrived from Odisha, on Monday.
As Basanti Pardhan (mother) and Lallu Pardhan (younger brother) could not talk in Hindi or Punjabi, they had brought along one Qurbaan Khan (a classmate of Meeru) to explain things.
Talking to HT, Khan said, "Meeru was my classmate in fifth standard and had left his home after getting annoyed with his family over food. For years, the family searched. It was only after 9 years that a letter stating that Meeru was in a jail in Pakistan came from a government department."
"Since then the family has been in trauma. We had no idea that Meeru had returned to India, it was the government officials who had communicated with us that Meeru was here in Amritsar," he added.
Translating whatever younger brother Lallu Pardhan said, Khan stressed, "Lallu is very relaxed now after seeing his brother. The family is poor so we would appreciate some aid from the government in getting Meeru treated as he looks a bit disturbed after being in jail for so long." Meeru's mother Basanti did not utter a word but her reactions said it all.
Officials at the Red Cross claimed that they had worked in co-ordination with the Red Cross team all over India to get the details of the 5 released after no one had come to receive them.