The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jawan gets his Gudia back

New Delhi, Sept. 19: Army jawan Mohammed Arif was restored to his country over a month ago and now his remarried wife, pregnant by her second husband, will be restored to him.

The Aurangabad panchayat in Noida yesterday decided to return local girl Gudia to Arif, who had 'disappeared' five years ago during a demining mission after the Kargil war. This was made public by Arif's brother, Imran.

Gudia was remarried by her parents after she waited four years for Arif to return.

Sapper Arif and another soldier were captured by the Pakistan army after they unwittingly strayed across the Line of Control in September 1999. They were branded prisoners of war and dumped in jail.

Islamabad handed over both ' once given up for 'deserters' ' to India on August 9 in an exchange.

On his return, Arif had learnt of his wife's remarriage and said he would now devote quality time to his brother and sister-in-law.

But now that the panchayat has ordered restoration, Arif is ready to take Gudia back but the baby he says would stay with her only for 10 days after delivery. Gudia, now married to daily-wager Taufiq of Gurgaon, said she would obey the panchayat but wanted the child to stay with her and Arif.

'Arif will never agree to accept the child. She will have to listen to what he says,' said Imran. Arif is believed to want the child's father to take it away or for it to be cared for by Gudia's parents.

Gudia reached Arif's Mundali village in Meerut yesterday. After a week's stay, she will return to her parents in Noida, her father Himamudin told PTI. She will return to Arif after the delivery.

Taufiq was not available for comment.

Echoing some relatives on the uncertain fate of the unborn child, Arif's uncle Asfaq said: 'It's difficult to say what might happen. But whatever has been decided by the panchayat is in consonance with the Shariat.'

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