Kapurthala man spends 5 yrs in Philippines jail over mistaken identity; returns home
He was rescued after the Indian Embassy at Philippines managed to provide legal documents related to actual identity of Baldev Singh after Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal raised the matter during his visit to Manila in March this year
After spending five years in Philippines jail due to case of mistaken identity, 60-year-old Kapurthala resident Baldev Singh has finally returned home and reunited with his family.
He was rescued after the Indian Embassy at Philippines managed to provide legal documents related to actual identity of Baldev Singh after Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal raised the matter during his visit to Manila in March this year.
Baldev Singh went to Manila on tourist visa in 2018 for 15 days but during his return flight, he was de-boarded from plane by Philippines immigration and police officials for carrying out investigation into the criminal cases committed by victim’s namesake Baldev Singh.
“I was taken into custody on the accusations levelled against my namesake, whom I never met. Little did I know that responding to immigrations officials calling my name in the airplane would turn my 15-day journey into five years in jail,” said Baldev Singh, who visited Seechewal on Sunday.
He added that he had just gone on a short trip and was returning before the stipulated time. “But due to my lack of knowledge about the local language and only responding positively to my name uttered by immigration authorities, made me go through rigorous punishment in Manila jail despite being innocent,” he said.
He said during these five years, he had gone through acute mental trauma as he hardly had any communication with any other inmates in the jail due to communication gap. The mental trauma could be gauged from the fact that he had developed some sort of speech disorders and short memory loss as he hardly knew about how long he had remained in jail.
He only knew that he talked to his family members when given a chance and narrated the mental trauma he was going through.
Following this, his family members were in constant touch with Rajya Sabha member Seechewal for the past one year. During his visit to Manila, Seechewal raised the issue with ambassador Shambhu S Kumaran on March 2.
Baldev’s children said though they were happy that their father reunited with the family, it is shocking to see his mental condition.
“It is difficult for him to express anything properly as he is not able to speak properly. Our father had gone to Manila only to see ways of expanding his work but suffered only due to mistaken identity,” they said.
Meanwhile, Seechewal appreciated the Indian Embassy in Manila and Indian expatriate Jagmohan Singh.