37 yrs on, she believes her husband will
37 yrs on, she believes her husband will return
AMRITSAR: Though Pakistan persistently maintains that it doesn’t have any prisoner of war (PoW) but what about those hapless wives, sons and daughters, who claim that their dear ones are still languishing in jails there. And to add to their woes even the Indian government seems indifferent to their demand of tracing them in the Pak jails, presumably due to diplomatic reasons.
Kanta Kumari is one such hapless wife, who had spent less than a year with her husband after marriage in 1970 and till date she is waiting for him, running from pillar to post even as her son is now a 36-year-old Punjab police constable. Talking to the TOI on Sunday, she stated that her husband Ram Dass, a gunner (technical assistant) with the 943/940 Nentan Regiment, was part of the Mukti Vahini and was posted at the eastern border during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict.
Kumari, then 17, was married to Dass, 25, in December 1970 and was living with her in-laws at Shahpur Afghana village in Darungal, Gurdaspur. Recalling the day when he received a telegram asking him to report at Bareilly, she says he was on leave and had to rush back.
And then she received a telegram stating that Dass was killed on November 14, 1971. “I was pregnant at that time and my future became uncertain. But I never believed that my husband had died,” she said.
Kumari could not believe her ears when on Jaunary 25, 1972, she heard a familiar voice on Pakistan radio, saying that he was Ram Dass and gave his residential address and stated that he was captured by the Pakistan army.
“Since then I am running from one office to other. My son Shiv Kumar gave me the strength to live and to carry on with the efforts of tracing my husband,” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks and at the same time wearing an onerous smile as if mocking at the government that had declared her husband dead.
The family wrote to Indian Red Cross Society in this connection, which didn’t confirm that Dass had died but stated that he was missing and had not been cremated.
Kumar said about eight years back an Indian spy, Rup Lal, who was freed from Pak jail, confirmed that he had met Dass in Multan jail. “He also confirmed his address and body features which resembled with my father’s but refused to give a similar statement before any government official,” he added.
Kumari said she would continue with her efforts to trace her husband and after her death her son Kumar. The son said, “It is the duty of a son to trace his missing father until it is confirmed that he is dead.”