NHRC Seeks Report From MHA On Odisha Soldier Missing Since 1965 Indo-Pak War

Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on steps taken to trace a prisoner of war (PoW) from Odisha, Anand Patri, reportedly languishing in a jail in Pakistan.

The apex human rights panel has sought the report in 4 weeks.

Patri of Gandhighat Sasan in Bhadrak district’s Dhusuri block was a sepoy in the Bengal Defence Regiment. He went missing during the 1965 India-Pakistan war. Family members of the soldier have been for decades running from pillar to post to get him back.

In 2021, acting on petition filed by rights activist Radhakant Tripathy, the NHRC had directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to take appropriate action. However, the Ministry stated in its reply that it is the responsibility of the Defence Ministry as Patri was working in the Indian Army. Two years later in August 2023, the rights panel again directed the MHA to act on the complaint related to Patri’s disappearance and take immediate steps to trace him.

“Patri’s family members have made several requests to the government authorities to trace him. They have not been paid any legal dues since then. It is shocking that the government is not taking any interest to trace him,” said Tripathy, demanding adequate compensation.

Patri’s son Bidyadhar came to know that he was in Pakistan jail when he found his father’s photo in a newspaper advertisement about a missing person in 2003. Since then, he has been knocking every door but in vain. He later learnt that his father had lost his memory and was referring to himself as Nasim Gopal. He was reported to be lodged in Lahore prison.

Bidyadhar met Utpal Roy of Diganta organisation in Kolkata and also requested him for help. He even appealed to President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also wrote to former Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee for help in 2006.

The missing soldier’s son along with his wife and Roy even went to Wagah border with the hope of receiving Patri on December 22, 2006, when POWs were coming home, but returned empty handed.



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