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Deserter cop will 'prefer death to PoK'

Source: PTI
September 28, 2005 16:09 IST
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A former policeman from Jammu and Kashmir who resigned from service and crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1978 has returned, saying he would 'prefer death to returning there'.

"I will prefer death than return to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," remarked Shabir Hussain, who returned to the state after spending 27 years there.

"I have returned to my own country. I am ready to face action by the government but will not go back even if pushed back," Hussain told PTI today.

Hussain, his wife, four daughters and three sons were intercepted at Dharana-Mendhar in Poonch in the wee hours of Monday while crossing the LoC, army sources said, adding they have been brought to Akhnoor for detailed interrogation.

The former policeman, who had relatives living across the LoC and married his cousin, also from his village in the state in 1985 after crossing over, said he came back as he faced a "a disgraceful life of threats and repeated harassment by militants and Pakistani agencies".

"Militants, especially those belonging to Lashker e Toiba and Pakistani agencies were pressing me to guide militants across the LoC. When I refused they started harassing me and my family members," Hussain, 49, claimed.

He served as a constable in the 5th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Police for few years and had resigned from police in 1976, handing over his kit to the concerned officer at Batmaloo in Srinagar. Thereafter, he went to his village Dharana near Mendhar and crossed over to PoK.

After crossing the LoC, Hussain said he reached Jandrote village in Kotli district of PoK and was detained by Pakistan's Field Intelligence Unit for five weeks before being bailed out by his relatives there.

He said he was looked down upon for being a migrant and his economic situation was also not good.

"Being migrants we were looked upon and treated as third class citizens by the locals," Hussain said, adding the ill treatment also contributed to his decision to return.

The migrant, who now wants to spend the rest of his life in India, said, "India is my nation and I am an Indian. In case the army asks me to go back I will commit suicide, but would not return. I want to spent rest of my life with my parents here and also die here on my motherland."

He claimed he had left all his belongings and returned 'to spend his life peacefully with his parents'.

Hussain's father Inayat Shah said he was happy to see his son back home. "I have 40 kanals (five acres) of land. Hussain will cultivate it and carry on his life here," Shah said, adding celebrations broke out in his village soon his son returned.

"I am jubilant to see my son, daughter-in-law and grand children," Shah who met them for the first time said.

Hussain said that other migrants also wanted to come back as 'life was tough and militants threatened them'.

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