A resident of Odisha’s Sundargarh district who had accidentally crossed over to Pakistan and spent 20 years in the Lahore jail was brought back home on Friday.
The man identified as Birju Kullu was accorded an emotional welcome in his village Jangateili under Kutra block. He is in his fifties.
To bring him back, the Sundargarh district administration had sent a vehicle to Amritsar where he was admitted in a hospital upon testing positive for COVID-19.
Pakistani authorities had handed him over to their Indian counterparts in the month of October after his jail term. According to his family members, he had gone to work in a hotel in Jharkhand about 25 years ago. Mr. Kullu had disappeared from there under mysterious circumstances. Since then his family had no clues about his condition and lost hopes for his return.
When the Sundargarh police was informed about Mr Kullu, his family members were identified.
Police said Mr. Kullu appeared unstable and was unable to describe as to how he had crossed the international border and got caught by Pakistan security forces. They only answer he managed to give was that he was picked by men in uniform.
“This is his new life. We had lost all hopes for his return. We are very happy,” said his sister.
Kutra Block Development Officer Manas Ranjan Ray said the government would take all care to rehabilitate him and extend government benefits including Aadhaar card, ration card, and a house.