Monday, December 26, 2011


The Gujarat high court on Friday directed the Centre to consider 1971 prisoners of war languishing in Pakistani jail on duty, pay full salaries to their families and give them retirement benefits within three months with adequate compensation. 

The court was hearing a petition filed in 1999 by late Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora, who had sought directions from the court for the centre for the PoWs' release. But the court said the POWs' families will have to return the compensation once they are released and pulled up the Centre for not making 'any sincere moves' to get them released.

It directed the Centre to file a petition in the International Court of Justice for their release. The court said the Centre had been "guilty of inaction and not protecting rights of citizens, who defend the country's boundaries" by not approaching the ICJ so far. It had fined the defence ministry Rs 10,000 twice for not filing appropriate reply in the case for over 10 years despite repeated notices in
January 2010.

Dear Veterans,

Veteran Muthukrishnan has forwarded the extract of the front page news reported by the New Indian Express in today's (24-12-2011) issue.

It seems that the Judiciary has taken the role of conscience keeper of the Army, due to lack of endeavour form both the Govt and the Army. In a scathing attack on the Govt's inaction, the Gujarat High Court directed it to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, within two months  to secure the release of 54 Prisoners of War (POW), languishing in Pakistani Jails since 1971.

The Court's Directive was explicit. "The Union of India shall within two months, from today approach the ICJ alleging breach of Simla Agreement at the instance of Pakistan for not releasing the soldiers".

The Judges turned down the Union Govt's contention that the Court cannot direct it to take decision on policy matters.

The Court Observed, " this is not a case of interference with the policy decision of Union of India, but is one of inaction on its part in not taking lawful steps for protecting the life and personal liberty of its citizens, who did not hesitate to risk their life and comfort for protecting their mother land".

This case was first filed in 1999, by late Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora, the hero of 1971 war, who had sought the release of the POW.

The Division Bench headed by the acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Battachrya and Justice JB Pardiwala also directed the Govt to pay the next of kin of these POW, full service / retirement benefits within three months. 

There is no doubt that the Govt was quite casual in its approach to this grave problem. But, what about our own Army HQ and our own Chiefs over the past four decades? Did they prevail upon  the Govt for rendering justice to these unfortunate souls, because of whom they won their awards and laurels?

Let us not forget that this judgement was from the Gujarat High Court. Will the Army's top brass prevent the MOD or the MOE form approaching the Supreme court for a stay on the execution of the Court's verdict?

It is time for our forces to retrieve the honour and conscience which have been pleged to the Courts of Justice.

Veteran Raman
Sent by Raman TN Sarma 


  1. Dear Veterans,

    I am glad that some members have taken interest in the story of the POWs. But, my view is that the COAS must exert pressure on the Govt for their release, since a POW is equivalent to a serving soldier, despite the fact of his tenure as POW or his age factor. He remains in the Army's List till released.

    It is purely a service matter. We, as Veterans, must voice our concern about the lack of initiative on the part of the Serving fraternity, who have failed to impress on the Govt about their, as well as the members of their families plight, for forty long years.

    The Govt must act now on the basis of the judgement from the Gujarat High court, without going in for an appeal to the supreme court.

    Col TN Raman

  2. Dear Colonel Raman,

    I read your response in the blog 'India of My Dreams' of today's date.

    I confirm that my friends are extremely interested in the plight of the Indian PoWs captured and unlawfully detained by pak following the Indo-pak conflict in the 1970's. We are very pleased with the judgement of the recent High Court in Gujarat. It is of course long overdue.

    Please find attached a copy of my friend Mr Brian McMahon's letter to the respective Presidents of the two countries and their personnel.

    pak has committed war crimes by their inability to account as to what happened to the Indian PoWs. They have failed to observe or adhere to the Geneva Convention and the Government of India has failed to make them account in front of the International Criminal Court. They should have referred the matter to the International Criminal Courts in the 1970's. I find it amazing that here in the West they are still bringing those who committed war crimes in the last world war to account for their actions some 60 years ago and that the successive Governments of India have failed to act.

    I have instructed a military law advocate to confirm how we can access the formal records of the captured Indian PoWs and refer the matter to the International Criminal Courts. I am currently waiting to receive his specialist legal advice. We have no intentions of waiting another 40 years for the Government of India to act.

    Please assist by sharing any information that you have which will help this cause.

    I have copied in Brian and TG (Captain (Retd) Patel (Please note TG's bio attached herewith).

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jas Uppal (UK)
    07973 763421

  3. Indian Prisoners of War

    Dear Colonel Chaturvedi,

    It was a pleasure speaking with you on the phone today. I am glad that there are quite a few folks keeping the issue of 54 POW's alive. I hope the government works harder to help and creates a task force to deal with it. I have attached the letter from Mr. Brian McMahon to the Presidents and Chiefs of Army Staff of India and Pakistan. I have also included my response to a blog for information. Thank you for your interest in the Indian POW.



    I am very happy that Ms Jas Uppal from UK has written a response and included my friend and classmate Brian MCMahon's letter to the Pesidents of India and Pakistan including the Army Chief's of Staff of both countries. So far he has not received any response. This is not an Army or government matter but it is a matter for all Indian Citizens to wake and hold their government accountable for every missing military person who fought for the country and now are missing or held as POW since the 1971 War. India is the ONLY country that believes in rhetorics and no action partly due to public inaction and not holding their elected representatives accountbale for such matters. If all the MP's raise their voice and ask the government to take action, I bet the government will. I have retired from the US Navy and we will not tolerate US military personnel help POW in any country. it becomes a national issue and the media always keeps it in the front pages. The verterans organizations are also very active. My recommentation to all ex Indian Service members is to form the Indian Legion and State, district chapters. Once this legion mobilizes it becomes the most powerful political force and make changes. Captain Kamal Bakshi fought in the 1971 war. he is a classmate of ours (Brian and me from Sherwood College, Class of 1962). I request all to rise and ask the government to account for every hero who fought for India and is now POW or missing. Thank you "
    T.G.Patel, MD


  4. In a way we are all guilty.

    Us ESM, the Serving fraternity, the Legislative, the Bureaucracy, the Media, indeed ALL us citizens.

    Guilty of forgetting that even 40 years after the Indo Pak War 1971 got over, there are still Indian Prisoners of War languishing in Pakistan jails. The truth of the matter is that those persons are our fellow citizens. Fellow citizens who fought external aggression on OUR behalf, and were taken prisoners. Not dead, in which case there would have been some compensation, some award etc. As PW, far from recognition / compensation, their very existence or absence thereof, seems of no concern to anyone. Can there be a larger tragedy?

    It took a Court of Law to attempt to jigger up the Government into acting to ensure their release.

    The court ruling, reported in the press, also jiggered ME up, as it must have, lots of people who read the report.

    As followup, I have established some contact with like minded people who apparently have been at it for some time. One of them rang up and spoke to me. His mail sent thereafter is forwarded herein.

    I am sharing this in the hope that there are many more of us who may be seriously concerned, now at least, to DO something about it.

    Write about it in print media, organize discussions on TV, approach MEA etc...... do just about anything to keep the issue alive, and hopefully, pressure the GOI into acting expeditiously to secure the release of the unfortunate souls.

    Please definitely share your ideas, or offer to assist in whatever manner you feel you can contribute to the effort.

    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi,