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Long search for missing PoWs
Published on 15 Feb. 2011 12:18 AM IST
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Forty years have passed since Indian soldiers fought Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971. 54 of them continue to languish in Pakistani jails. For the families of the prisoners of war its been a long ordeal. For forty years, it’s been one photograph, countless memories, different hospitals and futile searches for Nirmal Kaur as she keeps looking for her missing husband Subedar Assa Singh, a prisoner of 1971 war.
Recently, Kaur went to Amritsar’s Mental Health Hospital to identify 14 prisoners released from Pakistan who are undergoing treatment in the hope that she may find her husband.
“It’s been 40 years. I have heard that 14 people have come form Pakistan. I am hoping that my husband will be among them,” said Nirmal Kaur, wife of PoW Subedar Assa Singh.
Before they could meet the patients, Kaur and others like her, had to first scan their profiles and note down similarities.
The wait outside the asylum was the hardest, but relatives were hopeful. As the PoWs walked out, expectant relatives looked closer. But their wait is still not over.
‘It’s my misfortune that husband is not here,” said Nirmal Kaur.
“We will continue our search,” said Bansi Lal, son-in-law of Pow jadish Lal.
Disappointment turned to desperation as families circulated the photographs of PoWs around. But there was not much help from the patients, most of whom suffer from memory loss and psychological disorders.
In 2007, these families had travelled to Pakistan but returned empty-handed. Four years on, despite losing another battle, they still remain hopeful.

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