POWs: Let’s bring our heroes back

A File Picture of Indian POWsDID YOU KNOW that there are still 54 Indian soldiers incarcerated in Pakistani prisons post the Indo-Pak war of 1971? It is an irony that even after the comprehensive victory, India could not negotiate freedom for her soldiers who were trapped by the enemy in the heat of war.

These prisoners are no ordinary mortals. They fought for the honour and glory of the country and have to be treated as such. They do not deserve to remain in the dark and dingy cells of an enemy nation. They are our heroes. Their tale should have formed part of India’s martial folklore and their names taken with respect and pride. Today they remain forgotten, mere names in the files lost in the labyrinth of the South Block. It is a collective failure of the entire nation. Not one government since 1971 has made a sincere attempt to get them released. Not one politician chose to take up their cause. As a nation, we have displayed only callous indifference towards these soldiers who fought to preserve the country’s freedom and in the process, lost their own.

Government of India should make it a point to place the release of the Indian soldiers high on the agenda of talks with President Musharraf. If pressed hard enough, Pakistan will have to accept India’s request. What is required is a display of serious resolve by Indian negotiators. As citizens of India it is our responsibility to impress upon the government to deal with this case very seriously. The release of our soldiers can very well mark a small but significant turning point in the long road to peace.

A collective effort can surely help secure freedom for our heroes. It’s time we fight for those who fought for us. If we fail to raise our voice now it will be too late and will be a blot on the entire nation.

The families of the POWs are fighting a lonely battle for the last 36 years. There are few others who have done their bit to bring this issue forward. YFE (Youth For Equality) has also started an awareness campaign through a play in Mumbai on this issue. But what is required is a collective effort of all concerned citizens.

0 thoughts on “POWs: Let’s bring our heroes back”

  1. we should get in touch with the retired army and isi officials of pakistan as they are the people who can really help us to trace our soldiers,i mean they will be having the incident details of those times,apart from conatcting the ngos and human rights. iam saying this bcoz recently i read an article in which major hussain of pakistan recently confirmed to the relative of captain singhs brother ajit singh that he died in battle of post as per maj hussain of pakistan capt singh was burried their with full honour.i accept that many will not be ready to give details but then also we can find good human beings anywhere no matter we have not shared good relations with pakistan military officials can be of great help bcoz army plays a major role in pakistan politics…

  2. List OF Indian POW’s in Pakistan

    Service No Unit

    Major SPS Waraich IC-12712 15 Punjab

    Major Kanwaljit Singh Sandhu IC-14590 15 Punjab

    2/Lt Sudhir Mohan Sabharwal SS-23957 87 Lt Regiment

    Capt Ravinder Kaura SS-20095 39 Med Regiment

    Capt Giri Raj Singh IC-23283 5 Assam

    Capt Om Prakash Dalal SS-22536 Grenadiers

    Maj AK Ghosh IC-18790 15 Rajput

    Maj AK Suri SS-19807 5 Assam

    Capt Kalyan Singh Rathod IC-28148 5 Assam

    Major Jaskiran Singh Malik IC-14457 8 Raj. Rifles

    Major SC Guleri IC-20230 9 Jat

    Lt Vijay Kumar Azad IC-58589 1/9 G R

    Capt Kamal Bakshi IC-19294 5 Sikh

    2/ Lt Paras Ram Sharma SS-22490 5/8 G R

    Capt Vashisht Nath

    L/Hv. Krishna Lal Sharma 13719585 1 JK Rifles

    Subedar Assa Singh JC-41339 5 Sikh

    Subedar Kalidas JC-59 8 JK LI

    L/Nk Jagdish Raj 9208735 Mahar Regiment

    L/Nk Hazoora Singh 682211303

    Gunner Sujan Singh 1146819 14 Fd Regiment

    Sepoy Daler Singh 2461830 15 Punjab

    Gnr Pal Singh 1239603 181 Lt Regiment

    Sepoy Jagir Singh 2459087 16 Punjab

    Gnr Madan Mohan 1157419 94 Mountain Regiment

    Gnr Gyan Chand

    Gnr Shyam Singh

    L/Nk Balbir Singh

    S B S Chauhan

    Air Force

    Service No. Unit

    Sq Ldr Mohinder Kumar Jain 5327-F(P) 27 Sqn

    Flt Lt Sudhir Kumar Goswami 8956-F(P) 5 Sqn

    Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi 10871-F(P) 27 Sqn

    Flt Lt Vijay Vasant Tambay 7662 –F(P) 32 Sqn

    Flt Lt Nagaswami Shanker 9773-F(P) 32 Sqn

    Flt Lt Ram Metharam Advani 7812-F(P) JBCU

    Flt Lt Manohar Purohit 10249(N) 5 Sqn

    Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandoss 8160-F(P) 26 Sqn

    Wg Cdr Hersern Singh Gill 4657-F(P) 47 Sqn

    Flt Lt Babul Guha 5105-F(P)

    Flt Lt Suresh Chander Sandal 8659-F(P) 35 Sqn

    Sqn. Ldr. Jal Manikshaw Mistry 5006-F(P)

    Flt Lt Harvinder Singh 9441-F(P) 222 Sqn

    Sqn Ldr Jatinder Das Kumar 4896-F(P) 3 Sqn

    Flt Lt LM Sassoon 7419-F(P) JBCU

    Flt Lt Kushalpal Singh Nanda 7819-F(N) 35 Sqn

    Flg Offr. Krishan L Malkani 10576-F(P) 27 Sqn

    Flt Lt Ashok Balwant Dhavale 9030-F(P) 1 Sqn

    Flt Lt Shrikant C Mahajan 10239-F(P) 5 Sqn

    Flt Lt Gurdev Singh Rai 9015-F(P) 27 Sqn

    Flt Lt Ramesh GKadam 8404-F(P) TACDE

    Flg Offr. KP Murlidharan 10575-F(P) 20 Sqn

    Naval Pilot Lt. Cdr Ashok Roy

    Sqn Ldr Devaprasad Chatterjee

    Plt Offr Tejinder Singh Sethi

  3. We need to build – up pressure on Indian Govt. in a co-rdinated manner and force it to accept the issue of release of Indian POWs as Govt. of India’s responsibility, because these brave soldiers fought for protecting our Nation, from enemy. For this, we should a) organize periodic public debate on the issue on different TV channels, ii) take help of ex-service mens (retired military personnel) associations spread across the country, c) submit fresh memorandums to MPs of differnt parties from different states, who really feel for the issue and have sympathy towards this humanitarian issue so as to keep raising the issue in Parliament, which will also help in keeping the issue alive due to the automatic nation-wide publicity the issue will get in all media – newspapers, TV, Web, d) we may also discuss with our retired senior military officers / retired intelligence officers (from IB, RAW)who knows how Pakistan deal with missing defence personnel of India including captured or surrendered POWs and modus operandi followed by them in this connection to avoid getting publicity there, e) contact & have discussions with Indian persons, released from Pakistani prisons, held there on spying / espionage charges – to get information & details of Indian POWs they met in different Pakistani jails / prisons or anywhere else including special / specific military cells in Pakistan, f) collect information, details from various sources, that can be produced as an evidence to substantiate that our POWs are alive in Pakistan or which will help during independent investigation to trace POWs, f) collect whatever information, evidence available with family, relatives of our POWs, g) we may contact Mr. Ansar Burney, Human Rights activist from Pakistan who was instrumental in release of Kashmir Singh from death cell in Pakistan and take his help, advise & support for the cause.
    54 Indian POWs & 18 POWs of Pakistan are missing and both the Govts are alleging that they are held in each others countries and both of them are also rejecting each others claims. However, it is strongly felt that some people in Govt. establishment / security or military apparatus of both the countries, know it for certain where these 72 POWs (54 Indian & 18 Pakistani) are located. If relatives of POWs from both the sides are involved in this initiative, there bound to have more concern & wide publicity in both the countries that will help in increasing pressure on govt. from both sides of the border.
    It is therefore felt that “Aman Ki Ashaa”, an initiative promoted by Times of India and Dawn newspaper of Pakistan, should be involved in the matter to take up the issue with National Human Rights Commissions of both the countries so as to have independent, transperent investigations, in both the countries, based on information, details, evidence, collectd as mentioned above. Futher, we will also be able to establish missing links in the information, evidence available to trace the whereabout of POWs.
    Further, there is also possibility that with increased pressure, once Indian Govt. accept it as its responsibility (to arrange for release of Indian POWs), it can activate its intelligence apparatus / system to get information on locations of missing Indian defence personnel / POWs held in Pakistan.

    In fact, I would like to contact relatives & organizations working for release of Indian POWs to discuss the issue in detail, as I have come across so many reports, interviews in differnt media about the plight of our POWs in Pakistan & their familiies in India and their long struggle for getting their near and one released from Pakistani jails. I feel concerned about it as a citizen and as a human being; also feel it as our duty to fight for the release of the people who fought for us, fought for our country. By all means and using all parameters, they are extra-ordinary people who face enenmy day-in & day-out and continue to survive in enemy land.
    We will be failing in our duty as a citizen and as a human being if we could not fight for release of these brave soldiers & know it for certain that we will be successful if we handle the issue with a well planned strategy & co-ordinated manner. The points mentioned above are just what I thought about the issue, however, with regular contact & discussions we can plan a multi-pronged and concrete strategy to get our people released.
    Jai Hind !

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