'Unwanted' Pak-returned prisoners still far away from home

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Amritsar, Oct 5 (UNI) The sound of a bell makes him sit up, sending shivers down his spine.

However the gentle touch of a hand makes him glance towards the smiling face of the person in attendence and makes his realise that he is in a different, friendly enviornment and not behind bars in a jail across the border. He may have returned to his motherland but he is still far away from home.

In his 30s, Rishipal was repatriated to India in May this year along with other Indian prisoners through the Attari-Wagah checkpost. Suffering from epilepsy he has been waiting at the Bhagat Puran Singh Pingalwara near Manawala village for someone from his family to turnup and take him home to his village in Himachal Pradesh.

The district authorities have on a number of occasions in the last few months contacted the Himachal Pradesh government to know the details of Rishipal's family or relatives. '' However so far none have turned up,'' Dr Gulshan Kumar a psychatrist at the Pingalwara said.

Memories of the four years spent in a Pakistani prison still haunt Rishipal and whenever the bell of the public school adjacent to the Pingalwara rings, he sits up. '' The sound reminds him of the ringing of the bell in prison,'' Dr Kumar said while confirming that Rishipals days in prison had left him a shattered man and had even affected his mental health.

'' He does not remember anything about his family, except that he was the eldest amongst his five brothers and sisters and neither is he aware how he landed in jail across the border'', Dr Kumar added while confirming that Rishipal was under medical treatment.


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