Kashmir Singh returns home amid tears and cheers

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Wagah-Attari, Mar 4: Kashmir Singh today came back from the jaws of death to walk into the loving embrace of his family members amid tears and cheers at this joint Indo-Pak check Post. The Indian sepoy, who was the oldest prisoner on death row in Pakistan, was welcomed by his wife Paramjit Kaur with tears in her eyes, his son Shishpal and brother-in-law Trilok Singh and Border Security Force and civil officials.

As he crossed the Radcliffe line to end his 35-year-long ordeal, Kashmir and his wife Paramjit were overwhelmed with emotions. ''Finally, God has accepted the prayers of the family. This is a new birth of my husband. All pain and suffering that I went through is over,'' said Paramjit, who had to work even as a maid to rear her little children--Amarjit Singh, Shishpal Singh and Manjit Kaur, in the absence of her husband.

Kashmir Singh was later examined by a team of doctors from Amritsar. Earlier, BSF and Pakistan Rangers exchanged Kashmir's repatriation documents.

Kashmir Singh, alias Shallo Singh of Nangal Choran village in Mahilpur block of Hoshiarpur district, was arrested in Rawalpindi on espionage charges in 1973 and was sentenced to death by an Army Court. Later, the death sentence was converted into life imprisonment during the regime of late Benazir Bhutto.

Kashmir Singh who had languished in different jails of Pakistan for a period of 35 years, was released from imprisonment following the acceptance of India's mercy petition on humanitarian grounds by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf after his cause was taken up by Pakistan Human Rights Minister Ansar Burney.

Mr Burney himself escorted Kashmir Singh from Lahore to the Wagah-Attari border and then supervised his repatriation to India.

The Pakistani minister hugged Kashmir Singh on the zero-line and bade him a farewell.


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