Ahmedabad: When the country was elated at the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, a family in Chandarni village near Himatnagar city in North Gujarat was in despair.
The incident took them back to 1971 when their son Kalyansinh had gone ‘missing in action’. It has been 48 years now, and they are still waiting to hear about his return.
“He was posted in Hyderabad and was sent to Balsara Point in Jammu & Kashmir during the war. He went there and there has been no news of him since then,” says his elder brother Dilipsinh.
Kalyansinh was a captain in the Assam Regiment-5 at the time. Son of a magistrate, Harisinh Rathod, Kalyan was the youngest of four siblings. He worked in a private firm in Pune with brother Dilipsinh before joining the army and taking part in the war India waged against Pakistan to liberate Bangladesh.
The subject of prisoners of war has surfaced again with the homecoming of Wing Cmdr Rathod, just a few days after he was captured.
In the 1971 war with Pakistan, 54 army personnel were listed as missing. Though the Pakistan government has never confirmed it, they are believed to be in jails in that country.
Time and again family members of these alleged prisoners have raised this issue with the Indian government and even filed applications in the Supreme Court, but with no results so far.
The December 27, 1971 cover of TIME magazine had a photograph of a Pakistan jail in which missing Indian major A.K. Ghosh is seen behind bars.
British author Victoria Schofield’s book ‘Bhutto: Trial and Execution’ had also mentioned this. Evidence like this has been presented in various international fora, including Human Rights International to argue that there are Indian prisoners in Pakistan’s jails, but to no avail.
Kalyansinh’s family received a letter during the war from the Army saying he has gone missing. Later they were informed that he had been killed in action. But no proof presented yet.
Dilipsinh went to Pakistan in a delegation of family members of missing military personnel, but couldn’t find his brother there.
The family has still not lost hope. Father Harisinh died in 1986, hoping his son was still alive somewhere....