Chandigarh, Oct. 1: A Bihar resident who had been languishing in Punjab jails for 10 years after being branded a Pakistani infiltrator and terrorist was released today.
Wasil Khan, a resident of Nekerdehi in Bihars East Champaran district, had been picked up by the BSF from the border district of Gurdaspur in 2000 while he was roaming aimlessly there.
Khan, who worked as a helper on a goods truck, was convicted in 2002 for being involved in a bomb blast at Sirhind, near Ludhiana. He was sent to Nabha jail to serve an eight-year sentence.
After completing his term, he was sent to Amritsar jails transit camp where Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentence are lodged prior to repatriation.
Wasil could not contact us from Nabha. But from Amritsar jail, he managed to sneak out a letter to me through a kind jail guard. We are shocked at the treatment meted out to him. He was simply branded a Pakistani and blamed for a bomb blast without any proof, Khans sister Mohazra Khatoon, who was in Amritsar with her husband Shahid Raza Khan today, said.
Wasil said after his release: I just want to go home and work in the fields that I had left after a tiff with my family members a decade ago.
Wasils release was ordered by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of Punjab and Haryana High Court after Amritsar deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu told him that his family had approached the district administration with proof of his Indian citizenship.
The Indian authorities had even sent his name for verification to their Pakistani counterparts to enable his repatriation.
Wasil said he had been continuously telling the jail authorities at Nabha and Amritsar that he was an Indian but to no avail.
Wasil, in his 40s, said he wanted to begin his life all over again. I know it will not be easy, but I will try to forget the pain of the past, he added.