New Delhi: As many as 54 Indian soldiers, who were captured as Prisoners of Wars during battles of 1965 and 1971, are still believed to be in Pakistani jails, according to an RTI reply.
The Defence Ministry gave this information in response to an RTI which also sought details about the steps the government has taken to bring back these PoWs.
The Defence Ministry was asked, under provisions of Right to Information Act, why these soldiers could not be released from the rival jails in 1971 itself despite the Pakistan forces surrendering then.
"The issue has been continuously raised with Pakistan, but they have never accepted the presence of Indian soldiers in their jails. In 2007, a delegation of relatives of these PoWs made a tour of these jails but could not confirm the physical presence of these Indian Pows there," it said in its reply.
A copy of the RTI was also forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs by the Defence Ministry to seek its response.
"There are 54 prisoners of war jailed in Pakistan. Six of them, Lt V K Azad, Gunner Madan Mohan, Gunner Sujaan Singh, Flight Lt Babul Guha, Flying Officer Tejinder Singh Sethi and Sq Ldr Dev Prasad Chatterjee, were captured in the 1965 war while the other 48 were imprisoned in the 1971 war," the MEA said in its response.
A Tri-Service Committee has been formed in the ministry of defence to look into the matter, it said.
Neither of the two ministries responded to the question that why were these PoWs not freed in 1971 despite Pakistan losing the war.
During the 1971 IndoPak war, India had captured 93,000 Pakistani soldiers. This was the biggest capture of PoWs since the Second World War. Later after an agreement in 1973 all of them were released.