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Three Indian 'spies' released from Pakistan jails seek compensation

Three Indian 'spies' released from Pakistan jails seek compensation

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: September 13, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/three-indian-spies-released-from-pakistan-jails-seek-compensation/516418/0

For Sunil Bhola (50), the eight years he spent in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail were a service to the nation. But he resents the government apathy to what he did for his country.

Bhola, a resident of Dhadwan in Gurudaspur tehsil of Punjab, was recruited in 1989 by the Army Intelligence Unit in Gurudaspur (RED) Sambha Code 43244 to head to Pakistan and spy for the Indian Army. In the next 10 years, he visited Pakistan for at least one hundred times before he was arrested on February 2, 1999 by the Pakistani Army near Babia post, says Bhola.

"Inhuman torture was a daily routine," says Bhola pointing to the injury marks on his hands. "One Mehta from Indian High Commission in Pakistan met me in prison and secured my passport and other documents. Finally, I returned to India via Wagah Border with 19 other Indian prisoners on December 23, 2006."

When Bhola, father of four, reached Dhadwan, his native place, he found that the promises 'that his family will be taken care of' were not fulfilled. He says: "I am too old and too broken to get any job. My family is starving. I sacrificed 20 years of my life for my country."

The plight of Bhola and two others was brought to fore in Ahmedabad on Saturday as they appeared before the media and spoke about the government's apathy towards their cases.

The story of Prakashchand, 60, a resident of Bega village in the Jammu district, is not very different. Released along with Bhola in 2006, Prakashchand who had started working as a BSF informer in 1984, says, "I visited Pakistan at least 20 times until my arrest on April 1, 2001. My inputs had even led to the arrest of three dreaded militants of Babbar Khalsa International."

He said, "As I was in Pakistan for so many years, the J&K police often call me for interrogations." The third case is of Ratanlal (45) of Bhagatpur village of Gurudaspur who was first sent to Pakistan in 1994 by the Military Intelligence unit in Pathankot. Ratanlal says, "I was arrested by Pakistani army personnel on July 7, 1999 during the Kargil war and released on August 21, 2002."

"During my stay there, my wife and parents were not paid any compensation. Even after my return, I have not been paid any legal dues," said Ratanlal. Present at the place along with them was Kishore Paul, a human rights activist and advocate of the Gujarat High Court.

Paul said, "These three will be made a party to the petition that we have filed in the Delhi High Court in February this year against the government inaction regarding the National Human Rights Commission's order dated June 23, 2007 in case no. 192/6/07-08/OC. Our contention is securing immediate release of Indians languishing in Pakistani jails and granting due compensation to those who have been released."

This petition lists 16 Indian prisoners, of which Kashmir Singh was released in March last year after the then caretaker Federal Minister for Human Rights in Pakistan, Ansar Burney took up his case. Two others, Chanan Singh and Parvez Ahmed, were released after languishing in jails for 20 and 15 years, respectively.

Paul said, "Last year in April, the Gujarat High Court had granted an interim relief of Rs 5 lakh to the family of Kuldipkumar Yadav, a native of Mehsana, who had been in Pakistan jails since 1993." Dilipkumar Yadav, a former BSF jawan himself and Kuldip's brother, said, "Earlier, we used to receive letters from him regularly but these have stopped completely since last three years. Now, we don't even know whether Kuldip is alive or not."

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