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Indian prisoners of war holed till death in Pakistan

November 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Analysis

By N. N. BHATIA

Capturing prisoners of war (POW) is as old as man kind and warfare.  In the earliest history, men captured used to be either slaughtered or made slaves. The captured women and children were more likely to be spared but many times the purpose to capture women as concubines for sex, sexual abuse and pleasure. The first recorded usage of the phrase prisoners of war is dated around 660 AD.

A prisoner of war (POW) or enemy prisoner of war (EPW) or “Missing-Captured” is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by the enemy during or immediately after the armed conflict. Captor states hold POWs for any range of legitimate and illegitimate reasons. They are isolated from the operations and released and repatriated on will or under international compulsions like economic sanctions, aid blockades in an orderly manner after the hostilities, to demonstrate military victory, to prosecute and punish them for the war crimes. They are also exploited for their physical labour and as recruits or conscripts to collect military and political intelligence. The Chinese, North Koreans, Israelis, earlier Japanese and Pakistanis are also known from to indoctrinate prisoners to mold their political or religious beliefs.

About 56,000 soldiers died in prisons during the American Civil war. During World War I, about 8 million men surrendered and were held in POW camps until the war ended. At Tannenberg 92,000 Russians surrendered during the battle. Treatment to POWs till WW I was pathetic. Many died in captivity for want of treatment and poor medical and hygiene conditions in the cramped POW Camps. But conditions improved due to efforts of International Red Cross and inspections of camps by the teams of the neutral nations. The US Military made prisoners of war and missing and captured personnel as POWs and instituted “Prisoner of War” Medals. While some countries treat prisoners of war fairly well, the treatment in Germany, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan and China had been harsher. In China and North Korea it is believed that many prisoners of war were murdered, severely beaten, given summary punishments, brutal treatment and forced labour.

After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, India had captured nearly 96,000 POWs from the erstwhile East Pakistan that included both military personnel and civilians. Pakistan also had captured nearly 400-500 Indian POWs primarily in the western sector. Most of the Indian POWs were released by Pakistan in June 1972 and I was one of the officers detailed by the Army Headquarters to debrief them. Like wise, all the Pakistani POWs were released by India after the Shimla Agreement without resolving intricate issues Kashmir, river water dispute, Siachin, Sir Creek and minority Hindus insecurity in Pakistan. That speaks volumes of poor Indian political decision making, conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy aftermath victorious war. With the result, there are 54 Indian POWs still languishing in the Pakistani jails for the last forty years under sub human conditions. Since talks on any issue with Pakistan always remain inconclusive and meaningless as country lacks sincerity, moral courage and is perpetually in the denial mode, these 54 Indians are holed up in the Pakistani jails until death. While capturing the POWs during the war is legitimate activity, the treatment of such war prisoners needs to be governed by the Geneva Convention, 1929. Both India and Pakistan are signatory to the Geneva Convention but who cares.

Indian Families Quest to Search Their Kith and Kin

In 1983, Mr G S Gill (brother of Wing Commander HS Gill whose plane was shot down over Badin on 13.12.1971and Pakistan Radio gave news of his captured alive the same day), Late Dr R S Suri (father of Maj AK Suri), Late Mr Kaura (father of Capt Ravinder Kaura), Late Mr A K Ghosh( father of Major AK Ghosh), Mrs Damayanti Tambay (wife of Flight Lt VV Tambay) and Mr Surinder Gosain (father of Flt Lt Sudhir Kumar Goswami 8956-F(P)) were sent to Pakistan as official delegation. They were conducted to only one Jail in Multan but could not locate any prisoner. Again in 2007 a group of 14 family members of the POWs were sent at the invitation of the then President of Pakistan but they could not locate them in the 10 prisons they were conducted to by the Pakistani authorities.

There are no specific reasons as to why these POWs could not be located in Pakistani jails but some logical thinking could be as under:

·       Prisoners were shifted from the jails being visited by the families.

·       Over 35 years facials of prisoners and their relatives had under gone major change making recognition difficult.

·       The abnormal physical, psychological and medical conditions of the POWs.

·       Many may have converted to Islam, changing their names and hence difficult to locate. Some may have adopted aliases or nick names.

·       Having given up hope and feeling let down by own country, community and families, POWs might have become bitter, changed loyalties to stay put in Pakistan and work as spies.

·       Many may have perished in sub-human conditions of the jails or become lunatics to recognize any one.

·       POWs fear reprisals after the visit. The prison staff and intelligence agencies rough them on giving evidence /information.

·       Family members from India looking for their kith and kin were shadowed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies and their hotel rooms bugged and searched limiting free interaction amongst prisoners and the visiting delegates from India.

·       During first visit in 1987, only one prison in Multan was visited while during the second trip visit was limited to 10 prisons across Pakistan. There may be no Indian prisoners in these jails or they were shifted prior to the planned formal visits to those jails.

·       Documentation in Pakistani prisons is done in Urdu and the visitors were not conversant with the language.

Capt Ravinder Kaura was missing believed killed in 1971 war in the western sector. parents had reconciled with his death but in 1989 or so one petty smuggler Mukhtiar Singh was released from Pakistani jail who in an interview with local papers mentioned that there were many inmates including Capt Kaura in the jail he was lodged in. Ever since the news, the family was rest less to know about Ravinder’s welfare and get him released from Pakistani imprisonment. A few years back one Roop Lal was released by Pakistan and he too stated numerous Indian including defence personnel languishing in Pakistani jails. He also said many were in poor health, under nourished, in shock and needed immediate psychiatric and long term complex rehabilitation programmes by specialists. More than that, they needed to be united with their families urgently for their emotional needs. I also came in contact with Mr GS Gill whose brother Wing Commander Gill and Dr Ms Waraich whose father Major Waraich are still in Pakistani captivity. The uncertainty, no news and the long confinement period has naturally wrecked all the waiting families of the victims. Dr Ms Waraich was just one year old child when her father became POW in the western sector and now she has her own grown up children who have yet to see their grand father. I learnt both from Mr GS Gill and Dr Ms Waraich that in 1983 and 2007 official delegations were sent to Pakistan to locate the missing personnel details of which are appended below.

Evidence that Indian POWs are in Pakistani Jails

Pakistani government says that there are no Indian prisoners in the Pakistani jails. But the legal, lawful, independent, impartial, authentic, documentary evidence from Pakistan, England, America and India, proves beyond reasonable doubts that certainly there are Indian POWs of 1965 and 1971 wars, who have still been painfully languishing in Pakistani jails for the last 40 years.

·       Out of the 54 who went missing, 22 were pilots. Many of them were reportedly seen by Chuck Yeager, the famous former US Air Force chief, after the war while he was on an assignment in Pakistan. Yeager has mentioned this in his autobiography published in 1984.

·        Kishori Lal, an automobile engineer-turned-spy now based in Ludhiana who had stayed in various Pakistani jails and was released in 1974, says that during his imprisonment in Kot Lakhpat Jail he had also met Flight Lieutenant Vijay Vasant Tambe and Major A.K. Ghosh, two of the 54 POWs.

·       Maj Ghosh’s photograph behind bars was published in the in a December 27, 1971 Time cover story on the 1971 war is proof he was a POW.

·       The name of Major Ashok Suri was mentioned on January 6 and 7, 1972 in Punjabi Darbar programme of Lahore. His father Dr. Ram Swaroop Suri of Faridabad had also received three letters from a Karachi jail on 7.12.1974, 26.12.1974 and 16.6.1975 stating that he was in Karachi jail along with 20 other officers

·       Daljit Singh, repatriated on March 4, 1988, said he had seen Flight Lt. Tambay at the Lahore interrogation centre in February 1978.

·        A book published in 1980 from Lahore titled ‘Bhutto Trial and Execution’ written by Victoria Schofield, a senior BBC London reporter, covering the period of 1978 states that the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was detained in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore (page No. 59) reads: ‘Bhutto’s cell separated from a barrack area by a 10 foot high wall, did not prevent him from hearing horrific shrieks and screams at midnight from the other side of the wall. One of Bhutto’s lawyers made enquiries amongst the jail staff and ascertained that they were in fact Indian POWs who had been rendered delinquent and mental during the course of the 1971 war.

·       One Mohanlal Bhaskar of Firozpur, who was in Pakistan jails between 1968 and 1974 and was repatriated on 9.12.1974, wrote a book (I was a spy of India in Pakistan) has mentioned that he spoke to Indian POWs Mr. Gill of the Indian Air Force and one Captain Singh of the Indian Army and also mentioned that there were around 40 POWs of the 1965 and 1971 wars who are languishing in Kot Lakhpat jail and had no chances of release in future.

·       Mukhtayar Singh, who was repatriated from Pakistan on July 5, 1988, said Captain Giriraj Singh was lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail. Singh also reportedly saw Captain Kamal Bakshi in Multan jail around 1983. He said Bakshi could be either in Multan jail or Bahawalpur jail. There are numerous other such eyewitness reports.

·       Flight Lt VV Tambay’s name was published in the Pakistan paper Sunday Pakistan Observer on December 5, 1971. It said five Indian pilots were captured alive but Pakistan did not include their names in the list of POWs at the time of exchange of prisoners as per Shimla Agreement and the Indian government had committed a blunder and forgot to secure their release.

·       Daljit Singh, repatriated on March 4, 1988, said he had seen Flight Lt. Tambay at the Lahore interrogation centre in February 1978.

·       The name of Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi, whose plane was shot down near Peshawar on December 4, 1971, was announced over Pakistan Radio the next day. Ghulam Hussain S/o Hayat Dutt, who was repatriated from Pakistan on 24.3.1988, said that he had met Flying Officer Tyagi at Shahi Quila, Lahore in 1973.

·       Flt. Lt. Harvinder Singh’s name was announced on 5.12.1971 on Pakistan Radio that he had been captured alive.

·    Capt. Ravinder Kaura’s name was announced on Lahore Radio on 7.12.1971 during the war time and Mukhtayar Singh, who was repatriated on 5.7.1988, said that Capt. Ravinder Kaura was in Multan jail around 1981 and then later shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail.

Rajesh Kaura believes his brother Capt Ravinder Kaura is alive in Pakistan

·        Wing Commander H.S. Gill’s plane was shot down over Badin on 13.12.1971. Pakistan Radio gave news of his captured alive the same day.

·       Flt. Lt. Sudhir K Goswami’s plane was shot down over Sargodha on 5.12.1971 at about 7.00 p.m. The same day at 11.30 p.m. Radio Lahore announced his capture.

·       Maj. SPS Warraich’s name was reportedly announced on 5/6th December, 1971 as being captured alive after he and Maj. Kanvaljit Sandhu were captured on 3.12.1971 from the Hussainiwala sector. He was subsequently reportedly seen in Multan jail in January 1972. Again he was seen in 1988 by Mohinder Singh s/o Banka Singh, who was repatriated on 24.3.1988. He said he saw him again in Kot Lakhpat jail in February 1988.

·       Time magazine of London, dated December 24, 1971, carried a photograph of Indian prisoners behind the bars. The said photograph turned out to be that of Major A.K. Ghosh, who was not returned by Pakistan Govt. with the rest of the POWs.

·       2nd Lt Paras Ram Sharma’s father heard his son’s particulars being announced on Pak Radio on Jan. 2, 8 and November, 29.

·       L/NK Ram Lal (Retd.) (No. 9071130) of erstwhile 2 JAK Militia after his return from Pakistan said that he had met 2nd Lt. Paras Ram Sharma in Lahore jail for 5 days from 20.4.1973 to 24.4.1973 while awaiting his repatriation to India.

·       Balwan Singh, an Indian prisoner who returned home to India on 3.10.1998 after 9 years in Pakistan prisons, claims to have met Indian, POWs of the 1971 war. He said there were seven jails in which the POWs were rotated. He distinctly remembered one of the POWs as Jagdish Raj who was being kept in Fort of Attock Jail with other POWs (L/NK Jagdish Raj figures in the list of 54 POWs)

·       General Chuck Yeager of USA, who was on deputation with the Pakistan Air Force for training Pakistani pilots, has written a book of his role during the Indo-Pak war and has written in his book that he had interviewed about 20 Indian pilots in the Pakistani jails.

·       Shri Rooplal Saharia had been in various Pakistani jails for 26 years from 1974 to 2000. He says that there were many Indian prisoners of war languishing in various Pakistani jails

·       Shri Bhogal Ram of Kashmir had been in Pakistani jails for about eight years. In the year 1999 he had come to Rajkot to meet me and brief me about what he had seen in the Pakistani jails. Shri Jagsheer Singh and Arif Mohammed, who had returned on 10.8.2004 after five years in Pakistani jails, say that there are many Indian prisoners of war who have become very weak and have been passing very critical and painful life in the Pakistani jails.

·       Shri Devinder Singh of village Sanbaura, Tehsil-Hira Nagar, District, Kathua, Kashmir, was arrested in Pakistan on December 20, 1989 and returned to India on March 17, 2005 through Wagah Border along with 10 other Indian prisoners. He says that 100 Indian prisoners were languishing in Pakistani jail in a very painful condition. Many of them had become lunatic and insane and had been painfully waiting for their release since 1971 Indo-Pak war.

·       Leading human rights activist Ansar Burney claimed on 28 Apr, 201 as reported by the PTI that he had traced an Indian POW captured during the 1971 war in a jail in Pakistan. Burney said the Indian prisoner named Surjit Singh was arrested in 1971 and his family had been searching for him since then.

·       In the recent NDTV recording on 25 August 2012 over the prisoners prominent Pakistani human rights lawyer Mr Awaish Sheikh had confirmed many people are in Pakistani jails and he would keep fighting for their release. He was lawyer for Surjit Singh and is now fighting for Sarabjit Singh and many others held illegally in both the countries.

·       He had assured me repeatedly personally and through emails that he was willingly fighting cases of release of prisoners held in both the countries free provided families give the power of attorney in his favour and details of the prisoner(s).

NDTV show on the prisoners

Surjit Singh in 1971 in Pakistan (left), Surjit Singh released by Pakistan in 2012 (right)

Since May 2012, I am deeply involved in the release of the Indian POWs held in Pakistan for over 40 years. Through massive emailing and writings to both Indian and foreign media, my pleas were heard by two notably journalists both foreigners –Ms Sonya Fatah, New Delhi based Pakistani journalist who writes for the Times of India and the US based Lt Cdr Tammy Swafford who writes for The Daily Pakistan writing articles on the plight of the Indian POWs held in Pakistan. Through Sonya’s email I learnt for the first time that there were 18 Pakistani POWs holed up in India. She of course could not give me many details about them. Eventually these lead to the recording of the NDTV show on 25 Aug 2012 by Barkha Datt on the prisoners held by both the countries, which has not yet been telecast. There was large gathering of observers and eminent people from both India and Pakistan. Justice Katju of the Supreme Court, Mr KC Singh, former Foreign Secretary, Ms Sonya Fatah, the Pakistani journalist who wrote the article in TOI on 6 August on POWs issue Mr Awais Sheikh, lawyer from Pakistan who was counsel to Sarbajit Singh, Dr Waraich whose father Major Waraich is still POW in Pakistan, Wing Commander Grewal who was a POW in Pakistan and was lucky enough to be released after one year’s captivity, sister and daughter of Surjit Singh who got very emotional and some more personalities whose names I cold not recollect. A mother had come from Mumbai whose young son was missing for 7 years and reported only 4 years back that he was in Pakistani jail. One really wonders how he without passport and visa reached Lahore traveling by Samjhota Express.

Through satellite connectivity Jawed Jabbar, former Federal Minister of Pakistan, Hamid Mir, of the GEO TV, a Karachi girl from Pakistan whose 3 brothers are prisoners (fishermen) too attended the recording. The recording had tense moments as both Mr Awais (Pakistani lawyer) and the former Federal Minister of Pakistan had heated argument over Sarabjit Singh and Kasab held in India for 26/ 11 attacks. It was heartening to learn that Mr Awais was doing yeoman service in getting prisoners from both side released on humanitarian grounds as many are still detained after completion of their punishment period. Justice Katju gave his views of holding on to Dr Siddique unnecessarily and pleaded passionately that he was caught up in a murder case where no one knows who fired and killed the victim and he was held for so long in detention. He pleaded to the Indian government for his release for his old age and professional qualifications that are needed for diseases mitigation. Mr KC Singh pleaded for regulatory mechanism that punishment given to petty criminals could be completed in home country. I stated that POWs were not criminals and during war, enemy countries have legitimate right to capture POWs. POWs are governed by the Geneva Convention and both India and Pakistan are signatory to this Convention. I also said that while India released 96,000 Pakistan POWs after Shimla Agreement, 54 of our POWs were still languishing in Pakistani jails. Most probably they were the initially missing believed killed servicemen. I also mentioned that after 1962 Sino- Indian War our POWs were released by the Chinese with in one year after the war. I also highlighted that after I raised the issue of releasing our 54 POWs held for over 40 years, suddenly Pakistan has raised the issue of 18 of their servicemen held in India but no one had specified in which war they were captured and if any initiatives had been taken by Pakistan to get them released. Mr Awais, the Pakistani lawyer asked for the list of Pakistani POWs in India and I gave him. This list was sent to me earlier by the India based Pakistani journalist Ms Sonya Fatah. I pleaded that POWs held by both countries should be released. Dr Waraich gave her sad experiences of the unsuccessful visit to Pakistan in 2007 with other relatives of the Indian POWs to locate them. She highlighted the trauma of uncertain suffered by the POWs families was immense. Wing Commander Grewal mentioned how he was captured, blind folded, interrogated and released after one year along with other Indian POWs held in Pakistan.

The show ended inconclusively with the hope that all prisoners (other than Kasab type) should be released by both the governments. Mr Awais deserves our compliments for fighting for the release of prisoners held in both the countries to put an end to this human tragedy. In the end, I again request the Pakistani authority that legally, ethically and morally there is sufficient evidence of the unfortunate Indian POWs holed up in Pakistan. Pakistani leadership will do a great service to humanity and would acquire praise worthy statesman ship to unite these unfortunate victims of the war with their families in the twilight of their lives. Same holds good for the Indian leadership, too to release, if there are any Pakistani POWs on the Indian soil. If our governments do not relent, there is need for media, intelligentsia, human right activists, lawyers, educationists, Sufis, cultural, social and music groups, students- in fact the common masses of both the countries to unite peacefully in’ The Sub-Continent Spring’ like ‘The Arab Spring’ to improve bilateral relations and confidence building measures. To avoid face-saving, brinkmanship should be avoided. There would be no nemesis to either side by simultaneously exchanging prisoners at Wagah border for which nothing more is required than the positive will at both the ends. May the breed of the likes of Mr Awais Sheikh increase in the sub-continent.

ARTICLE REFERENCES:

Ms Sonya Fatah article ‘40 yrs on, why are we unable to account for 72 prisoners of war?’ in the TOI dated 6 Aug 2012.

Ms Tammy Swafford article ‘Madrigal for the Unaccounted’ published in The Daily Times, Pakistan

NDTV Show recording held on 25 Aug 2012

Personal contacts with Mr GS Gill, Dr Simmi Waraich, Ms Sonya Fatah and Mr Awais Sheikh, eminent Pakistani lawyer fighting for the release of the prisoners held both in India and Pakistan.

Weakileaks on POWs

ABOUT AUTHOR: Col NN Bhatia was commissioned in the Indian Army in 1963. He retired from the Army in 1995 and is now involved as human right and peace activist specially in getting Indian POWs held in Pakistan since 1971. He has appeared on the NDTV on the same issue recently along with Justice Katju of the Supreme Court of India, Mr Awais Sheikh, Mr KC Singh,former Foreign Secretary India, Ms Sonya Fatah, Pakistani journalist based in New Delhi & many others. He is in contact with Pakistani human right activist and Lawyer Mr Awais Sheikh, Ms Beena, Delhi based Pakistani journalist Ms Sonya Fatah, American journalist Ms Tammy Stafford who writes for Pakistani [papers,Ms Jasbir Uppal the Indian origin human right lawyer in UK, Brig (Retd) Rao Abid of Pakistan Human Right Activist, Brig Qadir(Retd) of Pakistan Army and like minded intellectuals, journalists & peace activists all over the world including India & Pakistan. He is prolific writer & writes for many journals in India.

Comments

14 Responses to “Indian prisoners of war holed till death in Pakistan”
  1. Col SS Sohi says:

    Col Bhatia & team have done a commendable work.

    Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell (Regd) NGO (President Lt Col SS Sohi,Retd).

    41. To add on further, my NGO has also been fighting to get back few POWs from PAK Jails:-

    a. Maj Jaskaran Singh Malik of 8 Raj Rif, who was captured on 8-9 Dec 71 at Pak Post Shishaldi after attack, in Leepa Valley (J&K) in front of me. He wrote few letters from Karachi Jail till 1986 and then his father & Mr Ahluwalia- Famous economist) had visited Karachi but of no output as usual. Maj Malik was seen alive in Kot Lakhpat Jail (Lahore) in 2003, news carrier Baisakhi Sikh Jatha (Ref Tribune 4 Dec 2003).

    b. Sep Jaspal Singh of 15 Punjab, who was missing along with Maj Waraich & others wef 4-5 Dec 71 from Hussainiwala (Pb Border) after Pak Attack, was seen last year in Oman Jail by Sukhpal Singh (a carpenter of Ropar), who had gone there in search of job. After this news in whole media, Sep Jaspal Singh is also reported missing from Oman that Jail area. After this event, the whole set of cases of Indian POWs in Pak Jails have been highlighted again, in World media. This is certainly not a healthy sign of Governing.

    42. We request our Govt (Army) to do some thing to get our brave soldiers (War Veterans) back, some how. They all should be treated on duty as per SC Orders.

    Regards.

    Col Sohi. 9815107744.

  2. Simmi Waraich says:

    The case is more complicated than most realise. There have been innumerable NDTV, See , CNN IBN tv etc shows. The point is some of the later evidences cited may not be true and they cloud the case.
    That is why we, as the family members had been asking for a Missing in Action cell like in the USA and Australia where a separate category is there for Missing in Action. . Here in India the government tells the family members that a person is believed missing and Then tells them to sign a document that they agree that the soldier was Killed in Action, thereby leading to much heartache unnecessarily. Many war memorials, like the one in Chandigarh do not have the names of these men as they are neither in the Living or The Dead!
    A cell with members of the IB, RAW, MEA, MOD etc can follow up each case systematically. We met Vice Admiral Pattnaik, the Chairman of the cell in Delhi and he was helpful but had constraints being a serving Govt official. Many people feel it us too long back and there is no point as ” Even if it happened, no-one would admit to it!” Justice Katju said such things happen in wars! Yes, soldiers go missing in wars but governments do take responsibility to search for their men instead of making no efforts to trace them like our govt. After all when a Major writes to his father ” there are 20 of us here, kindly contact the Indian ggovernment fir our release” in 1975 and the MEA confirms this letter as authentic , then where is this Major now. Why dies the MEA not have the proof now that the handwriting of Maj Suri in the letter was authenticated? Why can we not make a case and press on it? Is there a secret agreement between the governments of the two countries to forget the case now? What else could explain why the government suddenly dropped the case from bilateral talks after the Agra summit? Why did the government send 14 of us to Pakistan in a 14 day trip to 14 jails if they wished to drop the case altogether? We did not wish to go? we told them that as mere civilians we were not in a position to search for these men over 14 days that too in civilian jails where Defence personnel are not kept. However Mr Antony said that ” We will not stop till we find out the truth! ” Have we found out the truth, Mr Antony! Maj Suri’ s letter haunts me to date- ” Dear Dad, Ashok touches thy feet in benediction(that is how he started his letters). There are 20 other officers here with me. Please contact the Indian and Pakistan governments for our release” I want to know- if this letter is real- then where did these 20 officers go?

    • RAJAGOPAL says:

      Dear Dad, Ashok touches thy feet in benediction(that is how he started his letters). There are 20 other officers here with me. Please contact the Indian and Pakistan governments for our release”
      The above lines of ASHOK SURI to his father brought tears in my eyes and
      made to feel ashamed to be alive amidst the heartless and callous Govts.,
      who have been ignoring the great sons of India suffering as POWs in Pakistan having lost all their prime and precious youthful years in Pakistan jails
      with agonising sufferings for no fault of theirs but fighting for the well-being of these corrupt politicians and their sons and daughters.
      If the hapless and heart culing words of Mr.Ashok suri did not melt the
      hearts of these politicians including the Prime minister,defence minister,external affairs minister et al, for all these years, and even President of India, Human Rights commissions etc., in what way an Indian
      can be proud of his country ;Equally the Defence heads(ARMY,AIRFORCE) are
      also answerable as to why are they not caring their own men who are suffering as POWs. If wholehearted and sincere efforts were done by these
      fat salary earners, it would not have been impossible to get these POWs
      released from Pakistan. I think SUPREME COURT as in other ccases of
      such GOVT. CALLOUSNESS if takes up on suo motto basis by pulling up the
      GOVT. agencies to explain as to why POWs are neglected and fix a time
      frame to get the issue solved. Also it will not be impossible to get the
      POWs released if taken up with UN or even with USA who can easily prevail
      upon Pakistan to release the POWs and other Indian prisoners. It should be
      taken as a special ASSIGNMENT by the GOVT.OF INDIA thro a team to be
      designated for the purpose till the goal of POWS release achieved.

  3. Team SAI says:

    Seek U.N. help for release of POW, panel urges Centre The Hindu 2 Dec 2012

    The National Commission for Minorities has decided to ask the Union government to use diplomatic channels and seek the United Nations Human Rights Council’s intervention to secure the release of Jaspal Singh, a sepoy of the Indian Army who has been languishing in a prison in Oman after being taken prisoner in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

    Member of the commission, Ajaib Singh, talking to reporters here on Sunday, said he had already written to the Prime Minister, the UPA chairperson and the Defence Minister seeking the early release of Jaspal Singh. As he pursued the matter, it was revealed by the External Affairs Ministry that Pakistan had denied that Jaspal Singh was taken prisoner of war in 1971.

    Dr. Ajaib Singh said the panel would now approach the Union government to seek the UNHRC intervention for Jaspal Singh’s release as well as inquire into how Jaspal Singh reached Oman.

    Dr. Ajaib Singh, accompanied by by Jaspal Singh’s wife and son, Baljeet Kaur and Kamaljeet Singh, explained how the former Indian Army jawan was traced. He said one Sukhdev Singh, hailing from Baljeet Kaur’s paternal village in Ropar district, was working at the Masira Jail of Oman, where he met Jaspal Singh. Sukhdev Singh conveyed the news to Jaspal’s family this year, who have contacted the Sainik Welfare department, ex-servicemen associations and the Punjab government.

    Baljeet Kaur recalls that she was just 24 years old and Kamaljeet three when the family received the news that Jaspal Singh, who was serving in the 15th Punjab regiment, died in combat in the Hussianiwala sector at the Ferozepur border. They had received all benefits provided by the government announced for the families of army personnel who died in the war.

    Kamaljeet Singh, working in the State’s education department, is eager to see his father again. The family says the letters sent by them to various quarters had not evoked any response as yet.

  4. rajwant singh gill says:

    any news of my uncle wing commander H S Gill whose plane was shot down over Badin on 13.12.1971. Pakistan Radio gave news of his captured alive the same day.

    • Team SAISA says:

      Please contact Col NN Bhatia at narindra_bhatia@hotmail.com & Mob No +91 9818044762. . He has most of the information.

      • Ajay Kumar Tiwari says:

        I have one offtrack suggestion maybe it can lead us to some vital clue. If by anyway one can get in touch/befriend with former Pak Army/ISI officers settled in Britain/Abroad.I guess anyone out of them may be helpful in locating our Men (Pow)held captive in Pak. The idea is to utilize the back channels and should contain a element of face saving for both countries vis a vis two way exchange (in case 18 Pak Pow are still in India as claimed). Connecting with Pak officers based out Abroad can really be helpful. One can recall somebody named Jatar from cricket team once was successful in meeting his nephew Flt Lt Tambay just by sheer personal effort. Do let me know how can I contribute to this brave and selfless effort Sir. I can be reached at 9810791033/9650650325.

  5. Manish Sharma says:

    I been following this for quite some time now. It is so depressing to know that these heroes are totally abandoned. This is inhuman. I just hope we can somehow get them back to their motherland. Col NN bhatia, you are doing a commendable job and the hardest work possible, keeping in mind the insensitive pakistan government. I hope i can join your movement and fight for these heroes.

    Manish Sharma

    • SURESH JOTANIYA says:

      MR BHATIYA AND MANISH PLEASE CONTACT ME ALSO I WANT DISCOUS YOU FOR THIS CASE .I AM ALSO JOINT THIS CASE LAST 1 YEAR . PLEASE CONTACT ME .;094269735090/07383379970

  6. sid says:

    I too have been following this issue for many years. I believe that the main culprit here is the government of India (read – the ruling party which coincidentally was in power then) for complete lack of resolve. Firstly, they left these men to the mercy of an army they defeated and then never bothered to make any serious efforts to get these people back despite irrefutable evidence. The jews suffered for finite period at the hands of the Nazis, the Indian POWs continue to suffer even after 41 years – its infinite considering lifespan of a human being. This is holocaust a million times over!

  7. Deeksha says:

    On this day when we are “Celebrating” 67th Independence Day here in India, I am stunned to read several accounts of Missing POWs, Memoirs of POWs who were lucky enough to return home and sheer failures of our government to protect and fight for those who protected and fought for the nation !! Languishing painfully, for years, in unknown filth holes of an alien country, they are yet to get FREEDOM !!

    Who are we free from? What are good reasons to celebrate freedom?

    Dirty Politics is eating up everything !!

  8. Col NN Bhatia (Retd) says:

    Dear Countrymen.
    I too am a soldier who went through 1965 & 1971 Indo-Pak wars besides serving in insurgencies in Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab & J&K. I did write the article on ’54 Indian prisoners of war holed till death in Pakistan’ that besides in this website was also published in ‘The Lahore Times’ & our own Jammu published newspaper ‘The Northern Times’BUT sadly nothing has been done by both the countries to release these comrades in arms caught unfortunately by the enemy while on call of nation’s defence & security & integrity duty.
    I along with Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (President IESM), Dr Simmi Waraich (d/o Maj SPS Waraich, 15 PUNJAB who is a 1971 War POW), & Mr GS Gill ( b/o Wg Cdr Gill F(P) also a POW of 1971 War) are meeting Vice Admiral Patnaik who heads the cell called ‘Committee for Monitoring Missing Defence Personnel’ that functions in the Kashmir House regarding our 54 POWs hold up in Pakistan ) at 1100 hrs on 30 Jan 2014. Yes we need to ‘weave a way forward on an international scale’ to build pressure on Pakistan. I have written to Sh. Prashant Bhushan & Sh. Arvind Kejriwal of AAP also to make release of POWs & one rank one pension (OROP) as part of their manifesto for 2014 General Elections but have NOT heard from them as yet on these issues.
    My email id is narindrabhatia@hotmail.com as the earlier one quoted above was hacked. My mobile No is 09818044762. I am sorry Rajwant Singh Gill BUT how I wish I could answer your question on well being of your brave uncle Wing Commander Gill F(P)who was captured in Badin after his plane was shot in 1971 War. Mr GS Gill, perhaps your father will be attending the meeting with me on 30 Jan 2014 with Vice Admiral Patnayak.
    Col Bhatia
    E mail:-narindrabhatia@hotmail.com
    Mob:-09818044762

  9. http://www.lhrtimes.com/2012/10/24/indian-prisoners-of-war-holed-till-death-in-pakistan & http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Release_of_54_Indian_POWs_holed_up_in_Pakistan_since_1971_War/?cCbDbgb
    Dear countrymen,
    I being a retired soldier feel immensely demoralized as 54 of our valiant BUT unfortunate servicemen were apprehended by Pakistan as prisoners of war (POWs) in 1971 War. While we released Pakistani 96,000 POWs , we as a nation failed to get our handful men released from Pakistan even being a victorious army.As per Geneva Conventions once normalcy returns, POWs are exchanged but that has not been fully done by Pakistan towards its international obligations.
    I had tried to highlight plight of POWs and their families and this over four decade old human misery must end in my article. I regret I could not bring smile on the face of Rajwant Singh Gill nephew of brave Wg Cdr Gill (F(P)who bailed out of his shot aircrasft over Badin in 1971 War.
    I along with Wg Cdr Gill’s brother Mr GS Gill, Dr Simmi Waraich (d/o Maj SPS Waraich, 15 PUNJAB & POW since 1971 War) and Lt Gen Kadyan (President IESM) are meeting Vice Admiral Patnayak who heads the cell called ‘Committee for Monitoring Missing Defence Personnel’(CMMDP) on 30 Jan 2014 at 1200 hrs to discuss the matter again to see light at the end of endless tunnel of human misery.
    My apologies as some of you may have written me on my old email ID that was hacked. Kindly do write me on narinfrabhatia@hotmail.com or Mob 09818044762 to suggest ways & means to get our warriors back from Pakistan with dignity, grace & respect & end this human tragedy. I also suggest Indian authorities to release if any Pakistani POWs are held by us.
    Col Bhatia
    E mail:-narinfrabhatia@hotmail.com
    Mob:- 09818044762

    • Sunny says:

      I saw the movie ’1971′ yesterday which made me look into this and is quite sad to read this. I think a fresh approach is required and for all the families affected to target one cabinet minister in the new government, their local bjp MP and maybe even vk singh former head of indian army and now bjp mp. Pakistain have excellent relations with 2 countries – Saudi & China and if they will listen it will be to only these 2 countries. The cabinet minister you target should then liaise/pressure/request the Saudi or/and China government to intervene and pressurize the Pakistan government or/and military to release these 54 POW. This approach must be done behind the scenes as Pakistain would not want to show its influence to external pressures. If the Indian government does not take it forward and push for this then the families must use the media ie. Times of India to force the government to do something. However I think as India has a new government and seeing the people now in charge at the top of the Indian government, I think they will try and now is the best time to approach them. It is just the approach Indian government takes that needs to be carefully considered to it is effective this time. Yes if India is holding 18 POW they should be released as well but I have a feeling it could be a diversion tactict as these 18 won’t be found as they don’t exist and P have no intention of releasing the 54. It does not make sense anyway as India released 94,000 POW.

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