Nationwide hunt for families of 22 Indians lodged in Pak jails
Chandigarh: Pakistani jail authorities have requested the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to trace families of 22 Indian prisoners presently lodged in their jails, triggering a nationwide hunt initiated by the Union Home Ministry and state intelligence agencies.
All these 22 Indian prisoners have completed their sentences, but are yet to be released because their families in India are yet to be traced.
These prisoners are aged between 22 and 55 years, according to police.
Four of the 22 inmates are women. The youngest of them is named Ramesh alias Madur Ramesh, age 21.
One of the inmates is a speech and hearing impaired man. He has "Om" engraved on the back of his right hand.
Rasheed-ud-din, son of Muhammad Hafiz, is the oldest among the inmates. His age is 54 years.
The names of 22 Indian prisoners are: Ramesh Muddur, Raju, Ajmeera, Balia, Birju Ram, unidentified person (hearing and speech impaired,) Esma Maskan, Kishwa Bhagwan, Naqaya, Gullo Jan, wife of Nandraj (parents Chunnu and Gayatri), Muhammam Arif, Muhammad Qasim Milan, Panwasi Lal, Rajoo Roy, Raju Mahuli, Roopi Pal, Sham Sunder Yadav, Solioraf Salim, Sonu Singh, Surender Mahto, unidentified person and Rasheed-ud-Din.
In October 2014 the Indian High Commission was asked by the Pakistan Government to confirm the identities of the prisoners so that they can be released.
Police in all states have been alerted. The intelligence wing of the Punjab police headquarters has asked SSPs to deploy constables and go through the records of missing persons.
The Chandigarh police has issued advertisements in newspapers asking readers to help trace their families.
Photos provided by Pakistani authorities to the Indian High Commission are small and black and white. However, some of the faces can be recognised.
A senior Punjab police official said majority of the persons on the list had Muslim names. "We don't know if those are their real names or they converted while in custody," he said.
Chandigarh SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said: "We have issued advertisements in the public hoping to get a better response than pasting notices on boards of police stations."
Nobody knows why the prisoners failed to provide more clues about their families and villages. One police official said: "They may have become mentally unstable or were unstable when they ventured into Pakistan."