Heart rending tale of 54 Indian Prisoners of war in Pakistan 1971

(Global defence watch dedicates its first milestone to our long lost brethren)

When Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was jailed at Kot Lakhpat, he told a BBC journalist that he could not sleep in the night as he was lodged in a cell next to Indian POWs who had gone mad and would keep screaming throughout the night.

The never-ending ordeal of our brethren and their families whose only fault was that they happened to serve in Indian Armed Forces once-upon-a-time, oblivious of the heartlessly aloof governments of both Pakistan and India that were to rule the subcontinent in coming years, is a constant thorn in our national consciousness – a reminder that United Nations’ conventions that govern the treatment of POWs are maybe not applicable to this part of the world.

When we confront these prisoners’ saga, each individual’s tale, the enormity of their contribution, what they bore upon their shriveled selves year upon year in inhuman dungeons of Pakistan, for what was a collective cause, it is a humbling experience.

Off these 54 prisoners taken during the 13-day war between the two countries in 1971, 40 continue to languish in Pakistani jails. The rest presumably died piece by piece in the last more than 46 years with reports that their ashes are kept in urns there. Contrast this with India’s treatment meted out to 93000 Pakistani Prisoners who voluntarily preferred to be handed over to Indian Army instead of Mukti Vahini of Bangladesh, and who all were repatriated with full honor after the war got over. Maybe civility and humanity have been selective in coming to different regions.

In India, the issue of POWs was raised in the Rajya Sabha in 1978. In 1981, then PM Indira Gandhi acknowledged their presence in Pakistani jails. Later on Benazir Bhutto admitted to Rajiv Gandhi that there were 43 Indian POWs. In 1996, then-Defense Minister IK Gujaral said that Government was making efforts to get them back to a question by Satish Pradhan in Rajya Sabha. But so far only lip service has been paid to the plight of Indian POWs. As late as 2015 when the Supreme Court asked,” Are they still alive ?”, the Solicitor General answered,”We don’t know.” As regards to why India cannot take the matter to International Court of Justice, the SG said India has not submitted itself to the jurisdiction of ICJ if the matter relates to the armed conflict between it and Pakistan.

Global defence watch as a small gesture publishes the names of these 54 missing warriors on this occasion and our prayers go to their well-being and their families :


Major SPS Waraich IC-12712 15 Punjab (It is reported that he was killed by a burst of gunfire shortly after being taken prisoner.)
2. Major Kanwaljit Singh Sandhu IC-14590 15 Punjab
3. 2/Lt Sudhir Mohan Sabharwal SS-23957 87 Lt Regiment
4. Capt Ravinder Kaura SS-20095 39 Med Regiment
5. Capt Giri Raj Singh IC-23283 5 Assam
6. Capt Om Prakash Dalal SS-22536 Grenadiers
7. Maj Suraj Singh IC-18790 15 Rajput
8. Maj AK Suri SS-19807 5 Assam
9. Capt Kalyan Singh Rathod IC-28148 5 Assam
10. Major Jaskiran Singh Malik IC-14457 8 Raj. Rifles
11. Major SC Guleri IC-20230 9 Jat
12. Lt Vijay Kumar Azad IC-58589 1/9 G Rg
13. Capt Kamal Bakshi IC-19294 5 Sikh
14. 2/ Lt Paras Ram Sharma SS-22490 5/8 G R
15. Capt Vashisht Nath
16. L/Hv. Krishna Lal Sharma 13719585 1 JAK RIF
17. Subedar Assa Singh JC-41339 5 Sikh
18. Subedar Kalidas JC-59 8 JAKLI
19. L/Nk Jagdish Raj 9208735 Mahar Regiment
20. L/Nk Hazoora Singh 682211303
21. Gunner Sujan Singh 1146819 14 Fd Regiment
22. Sepoy Daler Singh 2461830 15 Punjab
23. Gnr Pal Singh 1239603 181 Lt Regiment
24. Sepoy Jagir Singh 2459087 16 Punjab
25. Gnr Madan Mohan 1157419 94 Mountain Regiment
26. Gnr Gyan Chand Gnr Shyam Singh
27. L/Nk Balbir Singh S B S Chauhan
28. Capt DS jamwal 81 Field Regiment
29. Capt Washisht Nath Attock

Indian Air Force

30. Sq Ldr Mohinder Kumar Jain 5327-F(P) 27 Sqn
31. Flt Lt Sudhir Kumar Goswami 8956-F(P) 5 Sqn
32. Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi 10871-F(P) 27 Sqn
33. Flt Lt Vijay Vasant Tambay 7662 –F(P) 32 Sqn
34. Flt Lt Nagaswami Shanker 9773-F(P) 32 Sqn
35. Flt Lt Ram Metharam Advani 7812-F(P) JBCU
36. Flt Lt Manohar Purohit 10249(N) 5 Sqn
37. Flt Lt Tanmaya Singh Dandoss 8160-F(P) 26 Sqn
38. Wg Cdr Hersern Singh Gill 4657-F(P) 47 Sqn
39. Flt Lt Babul Guha 5105-F(P)
40. Flt Lt Suresh Chander Sandal 8659-F(P) 35 Sqn
41. Sqn. Ldr. Jal Manikshaw Mistry 5006-F(P)
42. Flt Lt Harvinder Singh 9441-F(P) 222 Sqn
43. Sqn Ldr Jatinder Das Kumar 4896-F(P) 3 Sqn
44. Flt Lt LM Sassoon 7419-F(P) JBCU
45. Flt Lt Kushalpal Singh Nanda 7819-F(N) 35 Sqn
46. Flg Offr. Krishan L Malkani 10576-F(P) 27 Sqn
47. Flt Lt Ashok Balwant Dhavale 9030-F(P) 1 Sqn
48. Flt Lt Shrikant C Mahajan 10239-F(P) 5 Sqn
49. Flt Lt Gurdev Singh Rai 9015-F(P) 27 Sqn
50. Flt Lt Ramesh G Kadam 8404-F(P) TACDE
51. Flg Offr. KP Murlidharan 10575-F(P) 20 Sqn
52. Naval Pilot Lt. Cdr Ashok Roy
53. Sqn Ldr Devaprasad Chatterjee
54. Plt Offr Tejinder Singh Sethi
Remembering the fallen heroes

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