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After 20 Years: Odisha Man Freed From Pakistan Jail Finally Reaches Home

Rourkela: 50-year-old Birju Kullu, who was recently released from the Lahore jail in Pakistan after serving 20 years of prison term, was accorded a grand welcome after he reached his native Jangateli village under Rajgangpur block of Sundargarh district today afternoon.

Hundreds of villagers of Jagateli and neighboring areas welcomed Birju with dance, songs in Sadri language and beating of musical instruments.

“We are very happy to welcome Birju back home. We will try to provide him all help so that he leads a better life hereafter,” said a resident of Jangateli who participated in the grand procession.

A team of officials from the Sundargarh district administration on November 6 had travelled to Amritsar in Punjab to bring Birju back. He was kept in quarantine at a hospital there as he had contracted COVID-19 following his release from the Pakistan jail.

“They used to give me roti, rice and dal in the jail. I am happy that I am back at home. No one used to beat or abuse me in the jail,” said Birju who could barely speak two sentences at a time.

After he reached Sundargarh today morning, Birju was taken to Kutra block office where he was felicitated by the Block Development Officer (BDO). Birju’s sister who was also present on the occasion could not control her tears and broke down while Birju was seen consoling her.

“I had lost all hope to see my brother again. I could not control my tears after seeing him. Though he did not speak to me properly, I am really happy that he is back,” said Birju’s sister.

“We have planned many things for Birju and he will be provided all benefits under the various government schemes. He will be given an Aadhaar card, ration card, and a house will also be sanctioned for him,” said the BDO.

Birju, son of one Kamlis Kulu of Jangateli village, was believed to be mentally unstable since childhood. He left his family when he was 25 years old without informing anyone and was started working as a helper in a hotel at Ranchi. Later, the hotel owner informed the police that Birju went missing under mysterious circumstances.

Though Birju’s family searched for him at all possible locations, they failed to trace him.

Birju was reportedly caught by authorities in Pakistan after he mistakenly crossed the border. He was later sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment and lodged at the Lahore jail.

On October 26 this year, he was handed over to the Indian authorities after completion of his term.

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