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At home, but no time for sarson da saag

The sarson da saag and makki di roti were ready at home. Only Kashmir Singh, who was released from Pak after almost 35 years of captivity, was too busy answering the media to savour the dish, reports Harpreet Kaur.
Hindustan Times | By Harpreet Kaur, Hoshiarpur
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2008 03:46 AM IST


sarson da saag


makki di roti

were ready at home. Only Kashmir Singh was too busy to savour it.

At noon, when the


caught the man who had been behind bars in Pakistan for almost 35 years, Kashmir had just found time to tuck in a few rotis. "

Saver da hun time mileya hai, roti khan da

(I got time to eat now since morning)," he said apologetically, tired of the media glare.

One of his sons stood guard to ensure that no one entered the room as his father, who returned home on Tuesday, and mother Paramjit finished their meal.

The "tired" 60-year-old had managed just four hours of sleep after nearly unending formalities before uniting with his family.

The rush of visitors kept Kashmir's elder son Amarjit, who flew down from Italy, busy the whole day attending to them.

Daughter-in-law, Sukhwinder Kaur, said Kashmir had wanted

sarson da saag


makki di roti

, which she had prepared. But her father-in-law did not get the chance to savour it.

Families of prisoners of war, said to be languishing in Pakistan's prisons, have also approached Kashmir in the hope that he might provide information about their kin.

"Although the Pakistan government could not find any incriminating evidence against me, stepping into their territory was an offence enough to put me on death row," Kashmir said. He was charged with espionage in Pakistan and said that for about 17 years he was kept chained.

"Government officials, judicial officers, politicians and human rights activists visited the jails but no one seemed to bother. After 17 years, I was released from shackles on court orders. By that time my limbs had got badly bruised," he said, showing marks on his ankles.

Kashmir said there were around 150 Indian prisoners in jails of Pakistan. Like him, Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh, also Indian inmates in jails there, had adopted Muslim names, Kashmir said. He had not converted to Islam, but now knew Urdu well, he said. He had also read the



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