‘I sac­ri­ficed ev­ery­thing for just as­sur­ances’

Pur­shotam Singh, an In­dian spy in Pak­istan, is miffed over the ap­a­thetic at­ti­tude of the state as well as the cen­tral gov­ern­ment for not pay­ing heed to his pleas for fi­nan­cial help

HT Ludhiana Live - - In & Around - Tarsem Singh Deogan [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com LUD­HI­ANA:

Pur­shotam Singh, who was In­dian spy in Pak­istan, is miffed over the ap­a­thetic at­ti­tude of the state as well as the cen­tral gov­ern­ment for not pay­ing heed to his pleas for fi­nan­cial help. He had spent around 12 cru­cial years of his life in the jails of Pak­istan and had borne op­pres­sion that the Pak­istani jail of­fi­cials ex­e­cuted on him.

Damn­ing the state as well as the Cen­tre, Pur­shotam Singh said it was com­par­a­tively easy to col­lect se­cret in­for­ma­tion about Pak­istan troops as com­pared to avail­ing what he de­served in his own coun­try.

Stat­ing his agony, Pur­shotam Singh said, he came out of jail with his own ef­forts. The In­dian gov­ern­ment did not make any ef­forts to get him re­leased from the Pak­istan jail.

Dwelling in a sin­gle- room house with his son in Bas­ant Na­gar of the Daba Lo­hara road, Pur­shotam Singh, 75, runs a small-time shop in front por­tion of his house to sus­tain his liv­ing.

His son works with a fac­tory. He had writ­ten to the Cen­tre as well as the state, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

“I have scar­i­fied ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing my fam­ily, for my coun­try, but what I got in re­turn were just as­sur­ances that were HE SPENT 12 CRU­CIAL YEARS OF HIS LIFE IN JAILS OF PAK­ISTAN AND BORE OP­PRES­SION THAT JAIL OF­FI­CIALS EX­E­CUTED ON HIM never ful­filled,” said Pur­shotam.

He used to re­pair sewing ma­chines to earn bread and but­ter for his fam­ily be­fore he came in con­tact with Om Parkash Bedi, an In­tel­li­gence Bureau of­fi­cer, in 1974. Bedi en­cour­aged him to serve for the coun­try and he nod­ded for the moth­er­land.

“At that time I had an eightyear-old son. Ig­nor­ing my fam­ily, I crossed the border to en­ter Pak­istan through the China Post af­ter avail­ing three months of train­ing from the In­tel­li­gence de­part­ment. IB of­fi­cer Ajit Singh had ac­com­pa­nied me to Pak­istan to col­lect and send se­cret in­for­ma­tion to In­dia,” he added.

The de­part­ment used to pay him Rs 300 per day that he had spent in Pak­istan dur­ing the op­er­a­tion. He shut­tled thrice be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan to gather in­for­ma­tion. How­ever, for the fourth time when he along with Ajit Singh was re­turn­ing from Pak­istan, the Pak­istani troops ar­rested them near a drain and ini­ti­ated a case against them.

“The Pak­istani of­fi­cials com­mit­ted atroc­i­ties on us in the jail. They did not al­low me to sleep and sit for 10 days. They chained me in a nar­row cell, where no­body can stand without bend­ing their knees. They had bro­ken my teeth with pli­ers,” he said. He was given death sen­tence that was com­muted to 12-year im­pris­on­ment. Ac­cord­ing to Pur­shotam Singh, the Pak­istani troops had con­fined them in a place at Ara Bazaar. When he tried to escape, the troops shot him in the leg and foiled his bid. Later they were con­fined in the La­hore jail. He dug a tun­nel to escape, but to no avail, as one of the pris­on­ers leaked the in­for­ma­tion to the jail au­thor­i­ties. The Pak­istan ad­min­is­tra­tion shifted them to Miyan­wali Jail. They again dug a tun­nel through which three pris­on­ers, in­clud­ing Ajit Singh, es­caped. How­ever, he could not.

GAU­RAV BA­JAJ/HT

Pur­shotam Singh could not hide his tears while de­scrib­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence in Pak­istan jails at his res­i­dence at Shim­la­puri in Lud­hi­ana on Fri­day.

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