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17 mentally ill Indians in Pak jails; consular access given

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Pakistan has conveyed to India that 17 Indians, including four women, have completed their jail terms in that country but they cannot be sent back home as they are unable to recall their whereabouts since they are “mentally unsound”.

As Pakistan has failed to get details of their background, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad has been given special consular access to these prisoners hoping to make breakthrough.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad has sent the pictures of all these 17 prisoners to Ministry of External Affairs to trace their family members.

The MEA has now forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs the details of the 17 prisoners to help identify their families and homes in India.

Official sources said the MHA is planning to put their pictures on social media, inviting people to identify them.

Among the 17 Indian prisoners in Pakistan, four are women who have been identified as Gullu Jan, Ajmeera, Naqaya and Hasina.

The others are Sonu Singh, Surinder Mahto, Prahalad Singh, Silrof Salim, Birju, Raju, Bipla, Rupi Pal, Panwasi Lal, Raju Mahouli, Shyam Sunder, Ramesh and Raju Rai.

Many of them seem to be old in the pictures provided by Pakistan. The prisoners have not been able to disclose any other particulars during the consular access, sources said.

These Indians have completed their sentences but due to non-confirmation of their nationality they could not be repatriated to India, sources said.

Pakistan gave consular access to these prisoners amidst the ongoing hostilities between the two countries but before the now-cancelled National Security Advisor talks.

Last year the Indian government had said that there were around 403 Indians, including nearly 350 fishermen, languishing in Pakistani jails for various crimes. Many of them are mentally ill.

On August 2, Pakistan had released 163 Indian fishermen held for violating its territorial waters as a goodwill gesture.

On August 7, India repatriated 16 Pakistani prisoners, whose nationality has been confirmed by Pakistani authorities.