After spending 29 years in a Pakistani jail, Kathua resident Kuldeep Singh returned to a rousing welcome at his hometown here on Friday night, following which he asked the youth to never pull back from making any sacrifice for the country.
Singh (53), along with Mohammad Gufran from Aurangabad, were released by Pakistan on Monday and they reached Red Cross Bhavan at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Punjab after their repatriation.
Singh said Pakistani agencies tortured him for three years after his arrest in 1992. He was produced in a court for alleged espionage and subsequently sent to 25 years of imprisonment.
A resident of Makwal village at Billawar in Kathua, Singh was accorded a warm welcome by the villagers who burnt firecrackers and raised slogans in praise of the country and him.
My message to all my friends, villagers and especially the youth is to stay away from wrong paths that can harm them. But, never pull back when it comes to making any sacrifice for the country, he told reporters.
After his arrest in Pakistan, his family members said, they learnt about his whereabouts only when he wrote to them from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.
They said they had lost all hope as there was no contact with Singh for the past eight years following the killing of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who was also convicted of spying.
We are happy that he is back and among us after so many years, a relative said.