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Survived on ‘subzi’ as rotis were laced with chemical: Fishermen freed from Pak jail

Jai Chand, Ravi Shankar and Sanjay, who were arrested in for entering Pakistan water illegally in 2015, say the fellow inmates and the prison guards ganged up against Indians and looted their food at times.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2017 10:13 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Haidar Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Kanpur
Fishermen,Released,Pakistan jail
Jai Chand, Ravi Shankar and Sanjay at their Mohammadpur village in Ghatampur, 50 km from Kanpur.(HT Photo)

Jai Chand, a daily-wage worker, spent 14 months with Ravi Shankar and Sanjay, two other men from his village, in Pakistan’s Maleer Langhi jail after they were arrested for entering Pakistan water illegally on October 15, 2015.

The three from Mohammadpur village in Ghatampur, 50 km from Kanpur, were hired by a contractor in Gujarat to catch fish for him. They were at Jakhua point when the high tide sent their boat with 27 fishermen in Pakistan waters. Pakistan navy fired at them first and they were all arrested.

The first few days were extremely tough for the three men. The cell they were in had all Pakistani inmates, who made them clean the cell three times a day. They had to even wash their undergarments. “The prison guards supported them as they derived a kind of pleasure when we were harassed,” says Jai Chand.

The rotis (bread) he says he will not forget in his lifetime. Made of maida (fine flour), they were given five in a day.

“We noticed they are given with a powder sprinkled on the surface; it was a chemical we found out later. We were scared and decided not to eat them,” says Jai Chand.

Luckily, the vegetarian inmates were allowed to cook their dishes but they would have to buy the vegetables on their own. “

“For 14 months we survived on subzi we cooked together; at times Pakistan inmates will loot our dish and eat it and we slept hungry.”

The three men came out of the jail in the last week of December last year after the Pakistan government decided to release 220 fishermen. They reached their village in January.

“A jail is a jail, but survival in a Pakistan jail is the toughest, especially if you are an Indian. The fellow inmates and the prison guards gang up against Indians,” he says.

First Published: Apr 14, 2017 07:53 IST