A tribal man from Odisha, who was imprisoned in a Pakistani jail after he wandered off at the border 20 years ago, will be returning home this month according to the police on Wednesday.
Birju Kulu of Jangatoli village of Sundargarh district in Odisha, who was assumed to be mentally unstable, disappeared from home in mysterious circumstances two decades ago. However, the family did not file any missing report back then as per the local police.
The police informed that nobody knew how Birju crossed the border but he was caught by the Pakistani authorities and treated as a prisoner of war. The family did not have any inkling of him till he was handed over to Indian authorities at the border on October 26 as per the usual practice of handing over of such prisoners who are not involved in any criminal activities.
"Birju left home 20 years ago. During prisoner repatriation from Pakistan, his identity was confirmed. He'll be brought from Wagah border soon," Sagarika Nath, Superintendent of Police (SP), Sundargarh said.
Birju's parents are no more but his siblings and other relatives were really happy after the district administration officials informed them about his return.
"I'm very relieved and happy to hear the news of Birju's arrival. It's been over two decades that I haven't seen him. The police came over and showed his pictures to us in order to identify his family. Our parents are no more but they're definitely happy," Birju's sister said.
"Birju was mentally unstable and he suddenly disappeared one night years ago. We had no hope of his return. But the officials told us that the Pakistani authorities have decided to free him and he'll return home soon. It's great news," another relative said.
The family celebrated the news of Birju's possible return to their village.