101 Indian prisoners return from Pakistan

November 26th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Attari Border (Punjab), Nov 26 (IANS) Carrying with them mixed feelings - both happy and sad - 101 Indians who were languishing in Pakistan jails were repatriated to India at this joint land border checkpost.The release of the prisoners by the Pakistan government has come while home secretary-level talks between the two countries are on in Islamabad. Most of those released were fishermen from the Gujarat coast.

While the released prisoners were happy to be back in India after serving jail terms ranging from several months to a few years in Pakistani prisons, some of them were sad as they said that a few Indian prisoners had died in jails there.

“Unhealthy conditions in Pakistani jails took away the lives of some Indian prisoners. We are feeling very sad that they could not make it back. This freedom would have been happier for me if my friend Daya (another fisherman) had not died due to lack of treatment after illness,” fisherman Narsi of Diu told reporters here after his return.

Two of the prisoners returned by Pakistan were Punjab-based youth who had gone abroad illegally and ended up in Pakistan’s prisons. The duo, Bhupinder Singh of Jalandhar district and Jaspal Singh of Kapurthala district, had pursued the illegal immigration route five years ago.

Both young men were received by their emotionally charged family members at the border.

The returnees said that inhuman conditions existed in Pakistani jails, especially in Landi jail in Karachi, for Indian prisoners and urged the central government to take up the matter with Pakistan.

“There are over 350 more Indians languishing in Landi jail. If nothing is done to save them, they will also die. No one cares for them when anyone falls ill,” said fisherman Shashi Kant.

Another released prisoner Jaish said: “I have seen at least six Indians die in Landi jail in recent months.”

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