Presumed dead and his last rites performed nine years ago, a man from Jharkhand has surfaced in a Pakistani jail, bringing joy to a family originally hailing from in Bihar’s Jamui district.
The missing man Naresh Rana – who is around 26 years of age now – was presumed dead after the private fishing trawler he worked on off Gujarat’s coast was suspected to have sunk in 2006, a police official said in Dhanbad on Friday.
It has emerged only now that the trawler may have strayed into Pakistani waters and could have been seized by the country’s coast guard, the official added.
Naresh is one of four sons of a daily wage earner originally hailing from Jamui in Bihar. Though the parents are still settled in Bihar, the other three siblings are now based in Vishanpur locality in Jharkhand’s coal capital Dhanbad.
The story bears an uncanny resemblance to the ordeal of the deaf and mute girl Geeta who was brought back to India last month, nearly 15 years after straying into Pakistan and raised by a charity.
However, unlike Geeta, whose story received media attention after the efforts of a Pakistani human rights champion, Naresh’s plight came to light after one of the brothers saw a police notice on ‘missing persons’ in a newspaper. The notice also had the present address of the missing persons.
But nearly two months after learning about Naresh’s whereabouts, the family is yet to hear from the authorities.
Naresh elder brother Bajo Rana said he has been running around administrative authorities and politicians urging them to bring his brother back but has only been getting assurances all through his period.
Dhanbad MP PN Singh has now taken up the case and written to the ministry of external affairs seeking help for the repatriation of Naresh.
“I am also going to meet external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and home minister Rajnath Singh with the aggrieved family on November 28,” he said.
Asked why they had performed Naresh’s last rites without confirmation, Rana said: “We had to believe in what the employer said.”
Lohardagga superintendent of police, S Karthik, whom Rana contacted after coming across the police notice, said he has contacted the administration in Bihar’s Jamui.
“The Jamui district magistrate Kaushal Kumar, I am told, has taken up the matter with the Centre,” Karthik said.
Sanjay, another brother of Naresh, said the family has been tense ever since the news broke.
“We are unable to sleep or eat properly. Our brother is in a country where prisoners are treated cruelly. We are very poor to travel to Pakistan to see him. We can only pray and request the government to secure his release,” Sanjay added.