Kashmir Singh seeks better deal for 'undercover' agents

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Chandigarh, Mar 7 (UNI) The 'spy who came in from the cold' has regretted that the Indian government made no efforts to secure his release from Pakistan following his arrest on charges of espionage in June 1974.

''I give credit for my release and home coming to Pakistan Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney, who met me in Kot Lakhpat jail last month'', Kashmir Singh, the oldest Indian national serving death row in Pakistan who returned home on March 4, stated here today.

''I gave up my religion for the sake of my country but neither me nor my family got anything in return,'' Kashmir Singh said at a meet-the-press programme at the Chandigarh Press Club.

Flanked by his wife, Paramjit Kaur, he said except for exchanging few papers about his whereabouts, the Indian government made little effort to trace him. He said that as an undercover agent for the Indian intelligence he cut his hair short and became a Muslim.

'' I learnt to recite 'namaz' and even followed the 'rozas' so that I could pass off as a citizen of Pakistan'', he said and disclosed that at the time of his arrest he was known by the name of 'Ibraham'.

Undercover agents and their families need to be looked after by the government, he said, while pointing out that all his family got after his arrest was Rs 5000, that too in 1978 after he was sentenced to death.

'' Not a penny was given to my wife, who toiled hard in the agricultural fields to bring up our three children'', he added.

Mr G C Bhardwaj, who retired as AIR, director (News) some years back informed that Kashmir Singh would be filing a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for seeking compensation from the government. Mr Bhardwaj who hails from the same village (Nangal Choran) as Kashmir Singh in Hoshiarpur district too shared credit in his childhood friend's release, as he made a number of representations to the Pakistan government in the last few years.

Mr Ranjan Lakhpal a human rights lawyer who was also present said he had already filed a case on behalf of Kashmir's wife in the High Court.

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