Millennium Post

Maharashtra man returns from Pak jail

As Pakistan released five Indians from jail Saturday, the family of 58-year-old Bhanudas Karale from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district were the first to reach Amritsar to welcome him home. No one is sure how Karale ended up in a Pakistani jail. Neither is Karale, who is mentally imbalanced.

An elated Karale said over the phone he was glad to be back. 'I’m in good health and I will be at peace now that I’m with my family in my country. It feels so good to be back,’ he said in a choked voice.

‘I just want to go home to my village and rest and spend time with family,’ he added.

Karale, however, said his time in jail in was even more unbearable after his release orders were issued.

‘I did not face any hardship per se, but it was a jail in a foreign country after all. It was even more difficult to stay there after the knowledge of the fact that I’m being held up here due to lack of appropriate documents,’ he said.

It has been a long journey for Karale, said activist Jatin Desai. ‘I had spoken to him after his release. I thank everyone who made this possible,’ he said.

Karale was arrested on 28 August 2010 for illegally entering Pakistan. He was granted bail on 21 September, but had to wait to be actually released from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

But Karale’s family was unaware of his arrest. He went missing in January 2010 in a state of mental imbalance. His wife Nanubai and sons Vijay and Rohidas and nephew Nitin left no stone unturned to find him.

Karale, a resident of Wadgaon village in Ahmednagar district, had lost his way and ended up on a train to Pakistan without the knowledge of where the train would take him. However, when in August 2011, the family got a letter written by Karale, they came to know that he was in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. Karale had sent the letter with Gulab Singh who was released from the same prison after he served his term.

Luckily, help came from advocate Asim Sarode who, after learning about Karale’s plight, pledged for his release.

Sarode gathered all legal documents to verify Karale’s nationality and sent it to Pakistani human right activist Asma Jahangir.

‘It did take us a long time to gather all documents including the missing person’s complaint in the local police stations and my uncle’s voter identity card to be sent to the Indian High Commission verify his identity,’ Nitin said. ‘But now that my uncle has been released and I have held his hand, I’m glad the bad days are over,’ he said.

Karale had lost his mental balance after the company, Garware Nylons Ltd, where he worked, shut down in 1996.
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