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Radhay Shyam's walk to freedom

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 14, 2005 15:57 IST
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Till a few days back, Radhay Shyam, a prisoner in Pakistan's Kot Lakhpat jail would not have dared thinking about freedom. After all, he had spent seven years behind bars.

But suddenly everything changed for the man from Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, who was arrested for straying into Pakistan on January 2, 1998.

On September 12, Shyam walked to freedom across the Wagah border. 600 other Indian prisoners walked along with him after India and Pakistan agreed on one of the largest prisoner exchange programmes.

"I am fortunate to be free after seven years, unlike 300 fellow Indian prisoners, including Sarabjit Singh," Shyam said.

First Look: Free at Last

Only after his family brought him home to Kathua, did Shyam say he got the real sense of freedom and hoped that the other prisoners, including Sarabjit, would be released soon.

'Sarabjit deserves no leniency'

About 3,000 people lined the streets of Lakhanpur near the Punjab border and showered flowers on him. He was later taken home in a procession amid drumbeats where his mother, wife and kids were waiting for him.

Kathua residents had decorated the streets with balloons, colourful buntings and flowers.

"Lord Krishna has finally heard my prayers. My Ram has come home after vanvaas [exile]," said his mother Champa Devi. Unfortunately, Shyam's father Bansi Lal who passed away a-year-and-a-half ago, wasn't there to greet his son.

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