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PSHRC directed Punjab Chief Secretary, DC and DGP Prisoners to submit report

43- year-old Wasil Khan was reportedly arrested by Government Railway Police on March 24, 2002 and case was registered at GRP police station in Sirhind town of district Fatehgarh Sahib in connection with a bomb blast. He was later handed over to the Ludhiana police and was sentenced to jail. He was tried as Pakistan citizen and family had no clue about this for long time. When the media highlighted his case, Punjab State Human Rights Commission has taken strong note of the matter today and called for a report with regard to the nationality of Prisoner Wasil Khan from Punjab Chief Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar and DGP(Prisons), Punjab by October 27, 2010. PSHRC members K.K. Bhatnager, L.R. Roojam, Justice Baldev Singh passed these orders and the case was adjourned to October 27. 2010.

Wasil Khan 45 year old sister Mohazra Khatoon, a resident of Bihar, had claimed that Khan was not a Pakistani citizen but her "younger brother" who had gone missing ten years ago. Khan was booked by the Gurdaspur Police in 2000 and was declared a Pakistani citizen after he was found wandering near the border in a "mentally unstable" condition, a media report said.

Mohazra Khatoon,45, was aghast when she was told that her younger brother, Wasil Khan was lodged in the high-security Amritsar Central Jail as a "Pakistani ciizen". Along with her husband Shaahid Raza Khan and two relatives,she arrived in Amritsar recently from Bihar and made strong claims, with documentary evidence, that Wasil is an Indian who was wrongly arrested in a "clear case of mistaken identity"

Wasil who had served a term for eight years for illegally crossing over to India from Pakistana,is reportedly a resident of Nekerdehi village in East Champaran, formerly Motihari district, of Bihar . According to him, he had run away from home after a fight and started working as a helper on a truck ferrying apples from Jammu and Kashmir to Delhi.

Besides recognising him as their own, Wasil’s family claimed that he is innocent and produced the voter list of their area in which his name was present and his school certificates to prove his nationality. Khatoon cried uncontrollably when she saw her brother in the jail as she had lost all hope of meeting him again. The family spent over an hour with him and promised to get him out of jail and take him home.

Wasil was first booked by the Gurdaspur Police in the year 2000 and was decalred a Pakistani citizen because he was wandering near the border in a "mentally unstable"condition. It is yet to be investigated how he was later handed over to the Luidhiana Police that booked him on March 24,2002, in connection with a bomb blast and was sentenced to jail. He was tried as Pakistani citizen and the family had no clue about this. Now Wasil is lodged with other Pakistani prisoners in the jail’s transit camp waiting to be sent back to Pakistan as their sentence is over.

On the other hand, jail authorities said that he was a Pakistani as per record. Sources said Amritsar jail had received him a few months ago and he was originally kept in Nabha jail of Patiala district . As per records, he is a Pakistani, though Wasil says that he is an Indian.

Contributed by: Gurpreet Singh Mehak
Country: India
Date: September 26, 2010