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‘Deserter’ jawan writes from Pak jail
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kot Bhai (Gidderbaha), June 23
Finally, today the family members of Lance Naik Jaksir Singh who had been declared deserter by his regiment during the Kargil War five years ago heaved a sigh of relief. The family received his first-ever letter today written from a Pakistani prison in which he has asked his family members to contact the Indian Government for facilitating his release.

Jaksir Singh’s aged mother Chothu Kaur was a bit happy after a long time. However, his father had died sometime ago, fighting for justice.

Jaksir Singh sent this letter on June 14 to his family members at Kot Bhai village of Gidderbaha subdivision in Muktsar district from barrack No. 8 of Rawalpindi Central Jail, where he had been made captive by Pakistani authorities. Lance Naik Mohammad Arif of Meerut has also been made captive in the same barrack, stated Jaksir Singh.

In his one-page letter, he does not write much about how he had been treated by the Pakistani armymen. However, he describes how he and Mohammad Arif of unit 108 of Engineering Regiment, Pune, were made captive by the Pakistani army when they were proceeding towards a Kargil post.

Jaksir’s family has had to suffer a lot as the Indian Army had declared him and Arif deserters during Operation Vijay during the Kargil War. His family got a rude shock when they got a letter from the Indian Army in September, 1999, in which it had been stated that Jaksir had deserted the Army during Operation Vijay.

It was unbelievable for his parents. His father Gurdev Singh knocked at the door of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission in Chandigarh. All benefits and even the salary of Jaksir were stopped by the Indian Army.

Further, Jaksir Singh’s wife Jaswinder Kaur left for her parental house on learning that her husband was a deserter. She was pregnant at the time and later she gave birth to a baby girl.

The Indian Army realised its mistake when it received a letter recently from the Law Enforcement Agency of Pakistan in which it had been stated that Jaksir Singh and Arif Mohammad were in their captivity.

Jaksir’s mother and uncle Kulwant Singh are hopeful that now the Indian Government would expedite its efforts for the release of both of them. Chottu Kaur said a Captain from Pune had visited their home some days back and assured that their son would be back soon.

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