Looking for lost soldiers

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Looking for lost soldiers

By Jas Uppal

Indian families are still waiting for the men that Pakistan took as prisoners 44 years ago. More than 50 of the Indian Security Forces have still not come back. Many different Indian governments have not found out any information about what happened to them. And the families of the prisoners are still looking for their loved ones.

The Pakistani authorities agree they took the men prisoner in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. But they will not explain what happened to them, and they have even said these men do not exist. But Pakistan released some Indian prisoners of war in the 1970s and 1980s, and they released some Indian civilians from Pakistani prisons. And these people say they have met some of the missing officers.

Rajwant Kaur is the sister of Gurdev Singh Rai, one of the missing prisoners of war. She cries and talks about her brother. Now he would be in his early seventies. Rajwant Kaur saw some Indian prisoners of war in a BBC news report in December 1971. She saw her brother and thought they would release him in a week or two. But they didn’t. Their parents begged for him, but they died waiting for him to come back. Rajwant thinks about her brother every day.

Vijay Vasant Tambay played badminton for India at the 1965 Olympics. A year after he got married, he had to leave to fight in the army. His wife Damanyanti has heard nothing from him, except when she saw an unclear photo of him in the Sunday Observer of 5 December 1971 and one letter from him from a Pakistani prison.

None of the families ever received the bodies or personal belongings. The families sent a petition to the Indian Supreme Court, so they now get pensions. And these pensions will continue because there is no evidence that the officers died in the war.

As time passes, there are not so many family members to fight for answers. The Indian government has tried, but Pakistan will not do anything.

The last hope of the families is the International Court of Justice. This is the last chance for the families to find out what happened.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: http://newint.org/sections/agenda/2015/12/01/india-pakistan-prisoners-of-war/ (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).