HIV carrier wants to return to Pak jail

Karachi: An Indian fisherman was sent back to India by Pakistan authorities, because he was found to be HIV-positive. He was repatriated within two days of his test results. During his stay in India, however, his family tried to immolate him, forcing him to demand of the authorities to send him back to prison in Pakistan.

A few months ago, 17-year-old Narendra, alias Bhagan, was arrested along with five other Indian fishermen for fishing illegally in Pakistani waters.

The boy was sent to jail by the Civil and Judicial Magistrate, West, under FIR 25/2008 of the Docks police station under the Fisheries Act and during a random blood screening of the inmates carried out by the HIV/AIDS Control Programme, he was found to be HIV-positive on March 27.

His case was prepared and, through the Sindh home department, sent to the federal interior ministry for the withdrawal of the criminal case and his deportation back home and also for approaching the foreign ministry to take up the matter with the Indian High Commission (IHC).

Salis bin Perwaiz, for The News

Within a day, the entire case was processed and counsellor access provided. Representatives of the IHC visited the boy for the preparation of his travel documents. The IHCs camp office in the city issued an Emergency Certificate (EC) No 946806 dated April 28, 2008, which says that the EC was being issued to Narendra to facilitate his repatriation to India.

On his departure Bhagan had said that he was eager to meet his family-a younger brother and parents, an extremely poor family, residing in Jambhori Kapidwad village of Vapi Taluka in Valsad district. He had been working on a fishing boat for the past six to seven years and earned between Rs2,500 and Rs3,000 a month.

Later, he reached his hometown and met with his family members but interestingly, recently an Indian leading newspaper published a story of Narendra Bhagan who demanded to come back to Pakistan.

The paper published that Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails for years pine for home and their loved ones. But Narendra, who was released from one such jail earlier this year, wants to go back.

This HIV-positive youth from Jamburi village in Valsad, was released from the Karachi jail in May. However, instead of welcoming him, his father had tried to burn him alive because he is infected with the virus. “Pakistani loko mari sari sambhal rakhta (Pakistanis took good care of me),” says Narendra, who has made Vapi railway station his home.

Beggars tease him all night, and not having eaten for a couple of days, he had become weak and could not even walk straight.

“For my parents, I am an evil soul,” he said with tears rolling down his cheeks. “They will kill me given an opportunity. One Pakistani doctor wanted me to stay back.

He was willing to offer me a job and sent me back to India on his own expense. I pray to God to send me back to Pakistan.”

He remembered fondly how the jail authorities in Pakistan had celebrated Dhuleti by preparing a large pool of coloured water and asked everyone to jump in.

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