54 Prisoners of War still held in Pakistan
As per a reply provided by the Ministry of Defence to an applicant who filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, as many as 54 Indian soldiers, who were captured as Prisoners of War (PoW) are still believed to be in Pakistani jails. These soldiers were captured during the wars in 1965 and 1971.
The applicant had sought to know details about the steps taken by the government to bring back these PoWs. The applicant also sought to know why these soldiers could not be released from the Pakistani jails in 1971 when 93,000 Pakistan soldiers who were captured by Indian forces were released.
The reply says that the issue has been continuously raised with Pakistan, but they have never accepted the presence of Indian soldiers in their jails. In 2007, a delegation of relatives of these PoWs made a tour of these jails but could not confirm the physical presence of these Indian Pows there.
As a copy of the RTI was also forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs by the Defence Ministry, the MEA informed the applicant that there are 54 prisoners of war jailed in Pakistan. Six of them, Lt V K Azad, Gunner Madan Mohan, Gunner Sujaan Singh, Flight Lt Babul Guha, Flying Officer Tejinder Singh Sethi and Sq Ldr Dev Prasad Chatterjee, were captured in the 1965 war while the other 48 were imprisoned in the 1971 war.
Within the MoD, a Tri-Service Committee has been formed to look into the matter.