Efforts on to free Indians languishing in Pak jails!

With no demarcation as such on the borders, villagers often stray and find themselves in the opposite territory

Jaipur : Four persons belonging to Barmer and Jaisalmer districts on the Indo-Pak border who are languishing in various Pakistani jails since 1986 have not been tracked.

The efforts of human rights bodies in both India and Pakistan who tried to find out the whereabouts of the four persons have not been able to yield any result.

The families of these four persons, however, are hopeful that their kin would return one day.

According to Bhuwanesh Jain of Thar Vikas Parishad, an organisation in Barmer, that has taken up the issue of these prisoners both with the Union Home ministry and the Indian High Commission, the missing persons are Bhag Singh alias Bhagu Singh, was arrested by Pakistan Rangers for crossing the border in 1986 and was tried in Pakistan under the Foreigners Act and jailed.

Six months ago, his son Arjun Singh got a message that his father was lodged in Hyderabad jail in the Sindh province.

Bhagu Singh belonged to the border village of Dhanu in Chhauhattan tehsil of Barmer district. His son has since tried to establish contact with his father in Hyderbad but without any success.

Another person Jamaluddin who belonged to Ramgarh in Jaisalmer district went in search of cattle that strayed into the Pakistani territory in the porous border in 1986 and was arrested by the Pakistan Rangers. He was lodged in the Karachi jail and the family did not receive any communication about him after 1990.

Tila Ram was a minor when he took a herd of goats and mistakenly crossed the Indo-Pak border for grazing purposes and was arrested. His family was informed that he was incarcerated. His father Kirta Ram has since tried his best to know about his whereabouts, but has not been successful.

Sahu Ram, a dalit who belonged to Sarupe Ka Tala hamlet in Barmer district was arrested by the Pakistan Rangers in 1989 when he was collecting wood mistakenly in the Pakistani territory. His farm was located on the border and there were two pillars on the border post, but there was no demarcation as such he entered the Pakistan territory by mistake. He would make his living by collecting firewood.

His father Rupa Ram Meghwal received two letters from him since his arrest. The first was received in 1989 and the next in 1990 when he was lodged in Hyderabad central jail in the Sindh province of Pakistan. But after that there were no communications and the Indian High Commission has also not been able to find him.

Thanks to the persistent efforts of the Barmer-based organisation six persons –

Koja Khan, Binja Ram, Miru Aaklu Khan, Anwar Khan, Isra Ram Meghwal – all from Barmer and Jamaluddin from Jaisalmer who were languishing in Pakistan jails were released through the intervention of the Indian government.

Prakash Bhandari

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