M A I N   N E W S

All J&K ex-spy gets is free rehri licence renewal
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria/TNS

Jammu, May 2
Eleven days after former secret agent Vinod Sawhney went on a fast-unto-death demanding rehabilitation and due compensation, the state administration today announced free renewal of his ‘rehri’ licence.

But before some over-enthusiast officials could see the former spy sell soft drinks and other items on city roads, Sawhney turned down the “lucrative” offer.

Launched from the Suchetgarh sector during the intervening night of August 17 and 18 in 1977 on an espionage mission to Pakistan, the 59-year-old languished in several Pakistani jails for 11 years before returning home. He has been on a fast-unto-death since April 20 against the “government apathy towards the patriotic people who sacrifice their prime youth and lives for the cause of the country”.

“The Joint Commissioner of the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) sent one of his officers to me. He informed me that as a special case, the JMC had renewed my ‘rehri’ license. I have turned down the offer. It’s an insult to me, to the countrymen and even to the administration,” said Sawhney, who was a cab driver till 1977 when a BSF official who used his cab lured him with the promise of a permanent job.

Subsequently, Additional Deputy Commissioner Ravi Shankar Sharma visited Sawhney and told him that the JMC had no powers to allot a shop to me. “If the JMC does not have the power to allot a shop to me, then the Jammu Development Authority or Revenue Department should do the needful,” he said.

The Jammu Municipal Corporation had issued a licence to Sawhney in 2010 to set up a ‘rehri’ at the Hari Market-Indira Chowk Road following letters from then Union Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal to then Chief Secretary SS Kapoor. But three months later, he had to stop running his small-time business because of police harassment.

“The Union Home Ministry had asked the state government to rehabilitate me. Even then Chief Secretary SS Kapoor had recommended a temporary allotment in my favour, but this government has made my life miserable,” Sawhney said. I have been shuttling between the Jammu Development Authority and the JMC for relief, he added.

“I am waging a battle for myself and for many secret agents like me, who were used and then dumped by various secret agencies,” he said. He added that the government could not turn a blind eye to those who worked for the country.

spy saga

  • Agent Vinod Sawhney says he was taken to Akhnoor to acquaint him with his job, but was pushed across the Suchetgarh border along with a guide
  • The guide failed to cooperate and he was caught after a week in Pakistan in 1977
  • He was kept in different prisons in Sahiwal, Multan, Mianwali and Lahore till his release in 1988
  • He claims over 200 Indian secret agents were still languishing in Pakistani jails





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