AS POLL campaign gathers steam, families of five prisoners of war (PoW) of 1971 have started a signature campaign in Faridkot district to get them released from Pakistan jails. They are expected to expand the campaign to other areas too, apart from Faridkot. To begin with, the family of Surjeet Singh which lives in Faridkot district has started a signature campaign by making a flex board with his picture along with other PoWs Jagraj Singh, Dharampal Singh, Veer Singh and Balwinder Singh, who are residents of Bathinda, Mansa and Tarn Taran districts of Punjab.
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Pictures of all five can be seen on a flex board and residents are coming in large numbers to sign on this board mentioning ‘Signature campaign to get 1971 PoWs released from Pakistan’. Surjeet Singh was a BSF constable. Veer Singh was Naik of the 15 Punjab Battalion, Dharampal constable of 4 Sikh Regiment, Jugraj Singh was jawan of 102 Sikh Regiment and Balwinder Singh, a constable of the Sikh regiment.
Amrik Singh, son of Surjeet Singh, who started this campaign, said, “We have started this campaign as poll campaign is on and we are now going to ask the candidates what they can do for us. We have been fighting our case for the past many years and this is the right time to start this campaign. I located other PoWs and contacted their families as well. Now, we five are together in Faridkot. But tomorrow, the family members are going back to their districts and they are taking flex boards from us which they will be displaying in Mansa, Bathinda and Tarn Taran so as to start a signature campaign in their areas as well.”
Amrik continued, “In 2004, one Surjeet Singh of Phidde village in Ferozepur district had been released and he had told us that his namesake Surjeet Singh, who is my father, was with him in jail. In fact, at that time, my father was to be released as all letters had come in my address and later the other Surjeet was released.”
He added, “In 2013, one Lakha Ra of Ganga Nagar had been released from Pak jail and even he told us that he had met my father and the other above mentioned PoWs and hence we want the government to take up their matter and get these PoWs freed about whom we have not heard anything since 1971.”
Karamjeet Singh, an activist who signed on this board, said, “Candidates need to answer on this and also they need to tell the families what they will be doing for the release of all these PoWs. There may be more than just five families.”