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, while speaking to IANS over the phone, said 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
"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 getting unbearable
even 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 to everyone who
made this possible," he said.
Karale was arrested Aug 28, 2010, for illegally entering Pakistan.
He was granted bail on September 21, 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
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 told IANS.
"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.
(Mauli Buch can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)