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When a nation betrays

Kramat Rohi runs a dhaba in his native village Khehra Kalan near Fatehgarh Churian in Gurdaspur district. Once upon a time, he was spy fuelled by the desire to serve his country.

punjab Updated: Jun 29, 2012 17:10 IST
Kamaljit Singh Kamal

‘I feel like a used napkin’

Kramat Rohi, 56 Caught: 1988 Repatriated: 2005

Kramat Rohi runs a dhaba in his native village Khehra Kalan near Fatehgarh Churian in Gurdaspur district. Once upon a time, he was spy fuelled by the desire to serve his country.

“Enticed” by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), he started working as a spy in 1983 and crossed over to Pakistan five times before he was caught in 1988. He says RAW used to give him Rs 1,500 a month as salary. He was even given Rs 300 a month for 11 months by RAW after he returned to India in 2005. But that was that. “RAW used me as a tool, and threw me away later like a used napkin.”

“In the ’80s, having passed Class 12, I could have could get a job easily. But I was taken in by the allurement of the RAW. I felt I was doing a great service to the nation. I did not expect some great reward, but being abandoned is humiliating,” he says.

“Even the courts did not help. I was fined Rs 25,000 by the high court when I sought compensation. I have approached the Supreme Court, but in the past 18 months my plea has not come up for its first hearing,” he adds.

Rebuilding his life, he took a loan and opened the dhaba. Grateful to then then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf who ordered his release as a gesture of goodwill when the then Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh visited Pakistan in 2005, he rues, “I have ended up spoiling my own life, and that of my wife and son, who help me run the dhaba. Given our poverty, you can easily predict our bleak future.”

‘Resist the lure’

Gopal Dass, 53 Caught: 1984 Repatriated: 2011

Gopal Dass says he worked successfully as a RAW spy for seven years before he was caught in 1984. On April 2011, after over 26 years in jail, he came home to a hero’s welcome. “But the RAW disowned me; and that still hurts.”

A matriculate and resident of Bhaini Mian Khan village of Gurdaspur district, he worked at a salary of Rs 1,500 a month for RAW. On the night he was caught, he had crossed over from Nawanshahr. “I used to report about the location of army installations and air bases. Patriotism drove me, and I never felt I was a criminal. Now I think I just wasted my life for nothing.”

He has married upon return, and lives with his wife and in-laws in Shimla, where he plies a taxi. “BJP leader Avinash Rai Khanna and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa had announced help, which never came.”

Both his parents died when he was in jail. “The youngest of five brothers and two sisters, I have led the hardest life. And for what?”