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Missing for 36 years, man repatriated from Pakistan jail

Gajanand was among 30 other Indians, 27 fishermen from Gujarat, who were received by officials of Border Security Force (BSF).

punjab Updated: Aug 14, 2018 09:51 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
repatriated,Pakistan,Pakistan jail
Gajanand crossed Wagah after completing his sentence of 36 years on Monday. (HT Photo)

A 69-year-old Jaipur man, who had gone missing 36 years ago, was repatriated by Pakistan Rangers through Attari-Wagah border on Monday.

Gajanand was among 30 other Indians, 27 fishermen from Gujarat, who were received by officials of Border Security Force (BSF). Pakistan’s foreign ministry released the Indian prisoners as a humanitarian gesture to mark the country’s Independence Day.

In 1982, Gajanand, a labourer by profession then, had gone missing from his native village, Samod, falling under Mahar Kalan police station, in Jaipur. His family moved from pillar to post to find Gajanand but to no avail.

The 30 prisoners who reached the zero line of Attari border at 3pm were brought from Lahore to Wagah border in a special bus.

As soon as Gajanand reached the Indian territory, he fell on the ground, owing to weakness and was assisted by two BSF personnels.

He was taken to the Integrated Check Post (ICP) to complete the pending formalities.

President, Sri Amarnath Langar Sewa Committee, Abohar, Sehdev Sharma, who had come to receive Gajanand said, “Gajanand is not in a condition to talk. He will be taken to his home in Jaipur.His wife Makhni Devi, two sons—Rakesh and Mukesh—and their wives, and grandchildren have been waiting for him eagerly.”

Intelligence officials said, as Gajanand is not mentally sound, he is unable to recall how he reached Pakistan.

‘Was only 12-year-old when he went missing’

Gajanand’s younger son Mukesh Sharma said, “We had lost all hope of meeting him and feared that he was no more.Recently, police contacted us to confirm his nationality and informed that he was lodged in Lahore Central Jail.”

“I was only 12-year-old when my father went missing,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 27 fishermen reached Red Cross rest house in Amritsar and will leave for Gujarat on Tuesday.

A fisherman from Gujarat, Ramesh, said, “It is difficult to identify the territorial water during fishing in the Arabian sea.”

Though the fishermen were repatriated but their boats, nets and other things are still in the possession of Pakistan government.

India repatriates 7 Pak prisoners

The BSF also repatriated seven Pakistani prisoners on Sunday afternoon in a goodwill gesture ahead of the Independence Day. Amritsar jail superintendent, Arashdeep Singh Gill, said three of the seven Pakistani prisoners were lodged in Amritsar Central Jail. ‘They were arrested under the Passport Act, 1967,” he said.

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 21:23 IST