A Mumbai-based software engineer, who claimed to have inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan in 2007 via the Samjhauta Express and was jailed there for five years, was repatriated on Thursday.
Bhavesh Parmar, 33, a resident of Ville Parle area in Mumbai, crossed over to India from Attari in Punjab. He was received by his mother Hansa Kanti and Member of Legislative Assembly Krishna Hegde, who helped the family take up the matter of his repatriation with Indian and Pakistan governments.
After having spent five years in detention in Pakistan's Kot Lakhpat Jail at Lahore, Bhavesh was given an Emergency Travel Certificate by the Indian embassy in Islamabad to enable him to return to India.
Narrating his ordeal, Bhavesh said, "I was detained in Kot Lakhpat Jail after being convicted under the Foreigners Act for want of mandatory travel papers. I had slipped into depression after the death of my father due to cancer. I don't know how I reached Amritsar, boarded the Pakistan-bound Samjhauta Express train and landed in Pakistan".
"I don't know how I boarded the Samjhauta Express and went into a deep sleep. I got up when Pakistani officials shook me awake after the train reached Pakistan. Only then I realised that the train I had boarded was going to Pakistan", said Bhavesh.
His family was unaware of his whereabouts until 2008, when the special branch of the Mumbai police notified them that he was lodged in a Pakistani jail.
"Ever since Bhavesh went missing in early January 2007, the family had not spoken to him. I heaved a sigh of relief when I learnt about his release, but I am still awfully worried about his mental health and speedy recovery," Hansa told reporters.
She said that she has no idea whether her son was ever extended psychiatric treatment during his detention in Pakistan.
She said Bhavesh was depressed after the death of his father and had left home in a disturbed state of mind.
He had also left his job in a multi-national company, she said, adding that she had spent five years alone in their flat in Mumbai in the absence of her son.
Hansa and Krishna Hegde pursued the case with Indian and Pakistani authorities for the repatriation of Bhavesh, whose prison term ended in July this year.