Jetindaera Arjanwara returned home to India Thursday after spending five years in two Pakistani jails. He had crossed over to Sindh in search of water in 2013.
From Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh, Jetindaera was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, a blood disorder, but was attended to by medical doctors in Pakistan’s Hyderabad and Malir jails. The doctors brought him to the notice of barrister Zaya Hamid who was inspecting the jails in 2014 and again in 2018.
Subsequently, civil society actors in Pakistan took up Jetindaera’s case. On Thursday afternoon, Jetindaera crossed the border at Wagah, wearing a garland of roses. He has been turned over to the Red Cross till such time his brother Bharat reaches Amritsar from Seoni to take him home.
It is learnt that when Bharat went to police in Seoni and told them he had only Rs 300 to travel to Amritsar, the policemen pooled together Rs 10,000 between themselves and sent him onward.
In Karachi, Justice Nasir Alam, a retired judge, bought the boy an air-ticket to Lahore Thursday morning. India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, who had been following the case ever since his officials confirmed Jetindaera was an Indian national, tweeted: “We are delighted that Jitendra has crossed the border to home. We wish to thank everyone in Pakistan who made this possible. Several fine people on both sides have worked hard to accelerate this process and we are grateful to them all.”
Hamid Mir, the TV journalist who highlighted Jetindaera’s story a month ago, pushed former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif — he was disqualified from his job last week — to have him returned to India on humanitarian grounds.