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Indian held for 27 years in Pak returns to his village

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 07, 2011 20:33 IST
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The air in Bhaini Mian Khan village, in Gurdaspur district in Punjab, was filled with jubilation after Gopal Das, who spent 27 years of his life in Pakistani jail, returned on Thursday.

Das said he was thankful to God that he was able to return to his country.

"It will be a new beginning for me. I do not want to recall the harsh days spent in Pakistan jail," said Gopal.

Das was supposed to return home on March 30 but there was a delay in his release from Kot Lakhpat jail due to procedural wrangling. On Thursday, he crossed over to India from Wagah border and reached home along with his family members.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had remitted his jail term after Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani took up the issue.

Talking to mediapersons at his home, Das said he was innocent and did not commit any crime. Though life in jail was harsh, he was thankful to the government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of India for his release.

While his family members did not lose hope about Gopal Das's return, at times they yearned to seek some information about his well-being, said Krishna Devi, his elder sister. There had been no information about her brother for years, she said.

Das, then 25-year-old and unmarried, had crossed over to Pakistan in 1984 and was arrested by Pakistani Rangers on charges of spying. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was set to be released by the end of this year.

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