Bhubaneswar, November 13
50-year-old Birju Kullu, who had wandered off the border into Pakistan and served imprisonment for 20 years in Lahore, reached his native village in Odisha’s Sundargarh district on Friday.
Hundreds of villagers welcomed Birju with dances and songs in Sadri language after he reached his native Jangateli village.
Birju, who was assumed to be mentally unstable, had gone missing from his home almost 25 years ago under mysterious circumstances. He was imprisoned in the Pakistan jail on suspicion of being a spy from India, said an official.
A team of district administration officials had visited Amritsar in Punjab last week to bring him to his village. He was kept in quarantine at a Covid hospital there.
It was an emotional moment for his family members after they got reunited after over two decades.
“I am very happy to welcome my brother back home. I had never thought in my life that I would get my brother back. He has taken a rebirth for us,” said his sister as she burst into tear.
In the meanwhile, his parents have died.
Sources said Birju has forgotten Odia and tribal dialect ‘Sadri’. He is communicating in Hindi language.
“I am happy that I am back at home,” said Birju. However, he could not recollect how he reached the border and landed in Lahore jail.
After Birju reached Sundargarh, he was taken to Kutra block office where he was felicitated by the Block Development Officer (BDO).
“Birju will be provided with all benefits under the various government schemes. He will be given an Aadhaar card and ration card. A house and loan will also be sanctioned for him,” said Kutra BDO Manas Ranjan Ray. IANS