New Year gift: Differently-abled Pak boy, who was kept in Faridkot juvenile home, repatriated
The boy was staying at the children observation home in Faridkot for the last eight months.punjab Updated: Jan 01, 2018 22:31 IST
In a heart-warming New Year gesture, Hasnain, the 12-year-old hearing and speech impaired boy from Pakistan, who had strayed across the border to the Indian side near Ferozepur in May last year, was on Monday handed over to Pakistani authorities, officials said.
Hasnain has been staying at the children observation home in Faridkot for the last eight months.
The Faridkot administration received a letter from the ministry of external affairs on Monday morning, ordering Hasnain’s repatriation through the Attari/Wagah border near Amritsar under police security.
The boy was brought at Attari border at 7.30pm. After accomplishing all formalities at integrated check post (ICP), he was repatriated. “He was handed over to Pakistani authorities in presence of senior officials of Pak Rangers and Pakistan high commission on zero line at 9.05pm,” said RS Kataria, BSF deputy inspector general (Punjab border).
His repatriation has also been confirmed by Pakistan high commission in India.
A counsellor at the children observation home told HT that Hasnain broke into a big smile when he was informed through sign language that he was going home later in the day. Officials told HT that all the four siblings of Hasnain are also hearing and speech impaired.
Faridkot deputy commissioner Rajiv Prashar said he was happy that Hasnain, whose father Javed Iqbal is a resident of Lahore, will be reunited with his family on the New Year. “The social media played an important role in tracing Hasnain’s family,” said Prashar.
It was on December 19 that the Juvenile Justice Board, Ferozepur, dismissed all the charges against Hasnain and ordered his release. The boy was slapped with a slew of charges for crossing over to the Indian territory without any travel documents in May 2017.
Later, the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi wrote to the ministry of external affairs (MEA), seeking the early release and repatriation of the boy.
Hasnain became a subject of cross-border speculation following a twitter exchange between Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
This happened after Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar tweeted a Geo News report that a Pakistani boy with hearing and speech disabilities was lodged in an ‘Amritsar jail’, and asked Swaraj to look into the matter.
The Border Security Force (BSF) had detained Hasnain when he crossed over to the Indian side in the Ferozepur sector of Punjab on May 1, 2017. He could not speak or hear, and it was only from a currency note in his pocket that they found he was from Pakistan. Two days later, he was sent to children’s observation home.
The police had booked him under Sections 3 (punishment of offences committed beyond, but which by law may be tried within India), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Section 20 of the Indian Passport Act and Section 14 of the Foreign Act at the Sadar police station in Ferozepur.
(The story has been updated)