Indian spy Gopal Das returns to India

Published: April 7, 2011
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Policemen escort Gopal Das, an Indian national released from a prison, before crossing into India at Wagah border crossing near Lahore April 7, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

Policemen escort Gopal Das, an Indian national released from a prison, before crossing into India at Wagah border crossing near Lahore April 7, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: Indian spy Gopal Das, held in Pakistan for 27 years was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border on Thursday. Das was released on presidential orders.

The spy was transferred from the Kot Lakhpat jail to Wagah Border in a special vehicle. The notification by President Asif Ali Zardari to remit the remainder of the spy’s prison sentence was issued on March 27.

President Zardari issued the notice on humanitarian grounds following an appeal from India’s Supreme Court.

Das — who told reporters he was 26 when he was arrested — was sentenced to life in prison in June 1987 and had been due for release by the end of this year.

Pakistan’s presidency did not say why he was convicted, but Das himself confirmed reports that he had been jailed for spying.

“Yes… I went to Pakistan on a spying mission and I was arrested for espionage,” said Das, who was clearly angered by what he saw as his abandonment by the Indian authorities.

“Indian intelligence never bothered to get me released from jail in Pakistan,” he said.

“I carry a grudge against the Indian leadership because it does not bother about Indian prisoners still rotting in Pakistan prisons for many years,” he added.

He made a point of thanking the president and prime minister of Pakistan for his early release.

Das had entered a plea to the Indian apex court through his brother, which ruled that while it had no jurisdiction in Pakistan, it could make an appeal for his release to the Pakistan government.

Justice Markandey Katju of the Indian Supreme Court reportedly also quoted Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz in his ruling: “Qafas uddas hai yaaro sabaa se kuch to kaho, Kaheen to beher-e-khuda aaj zikr-e-yaar chale.” (The prison is gloomy; O Friends! Tell the eastern wind, To at least allow some talk of my beloved for divinity’s sake)

The remission is mostly symbolic since it comes only a few months before he was scheduled to be released. However, it is being viewed as another gesture on the part of Pakistan towards improving relations between the two South Asian rivals.

With additional input from AFP

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Khan
    Apr 7, 2011 - 2:46PM

    lol! “The remission is mostly symbolic since it comes only a few months before he was scheduled to be released. However, it is being viewed as another gesture on the part of Pakistan towards improving relations between the two South Asian rivals.”

    typical paki grandstanding. All Frt no SitRecommend

  • John
    Apr 7, 2011 - 2:58PM

    A journey of thousand miles begins with first step. Well done.

    Now, both the countries sit together and sort out how to send back the stupid fishermen from both countries who cross the fishing waters.

    The fishermen are poor souls, sometimes greedy, sometimes stupid, sometimes they are really lost. Anguishing them in jail is not going to help their poor families on both sides. The “other fishermen” always have a voice in high circles.

    These fishermen from both countries could be helpful in spotting strange activities in the dark sea for their respective navy.

    Tiered of reading about them all the time. Recommend

  • Much amused
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:11PM

    Hopefully, the Indian Supreme Court and Mr Gopal Das will appreciate the gesture/pardon.Recommend

  • MAD
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:26PM

    @Khan:

    typical indian lecturing: all talk no substance.Recommend

  • Vikas Pathak
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:02PM

    there are many still there,
    suffering in hell from 1971
    its due to our week leadershipRecommend

  • Vikas Pathak
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:03PM

    sorry weak leadershipRecommend

  • Nazar Iqbal
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:21PM

    Good startRecommend

  • veena
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:31PM

    All the Indian fisher men who are held one month before in Pak Border should be released before it is too late like Gopal Das…Recommend

  • Avinash
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:46PM

    Let us destroy the borders that lie between us… the heart beats of the people is one… Let us restore our legacy to the pre-1947… LET US ALL DESTROY THIS PARTITION which the imperialists Britishers have imposed on us and are looting us in the name of a conflict. Recommend

  • CB Guy
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:03PM

    @ Avinash! Appreciate your positive thinking but looking at it from a pragmatic point of view, our current state is the only practical formula of existence with relative peace.

    As for the release, its a great gesture but it should not be one sided as it has been recently. We should be getting our guys back, especially alive and in sane mental state. Recommend

  • Perwana
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:12PM

    Good gesture by Pakistan. India should take similar step.
    LETS JOINTLY DEFEAT THOSE WHO CANNOT SEE GROWING RELATIONS BETWEEN TWO NATIONS.Recommend

  • Perwana
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:18PM

    @Avinash:
    Destroying physical borders are Meaningless until we destroy the borders we have created in our hearts.The day when both nations (especially leaders from both sides) will destroy the borders within their hearts, the peace will come itself thus physical borders will be become invisible. Recommend

  • Dr.K.Bhushan
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:27PM

    A good humantarian gesture by the Pakistan Govt. and a step forward to improve the relatons with neighbours. A great relief & moment of rejoice for the family. Recommend

  • Zeeshan Siddique
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:42PM

    @ Avinash : My Grand-Parents migrated from Dehli after partition and the stories they tell of indiscriminate extortion-ism / killing and the brutality with which these incidents took place always fills one’s heart with raging anger and show the inner working of “Indian” mind/heart and tells you of one thing that how much hatred is there behind these words which you have just uttered.

    Soo dont start this “Amaan ki Aashaa” hypocrisy Live & Let Live. Recommend

  • Tariq
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:42PM

    When India will release Ajmal Kasab on humanitarian grounds? Recommend

  • Salman
    Apr 7, 2011 - 6:25PM

    @Tariq – Hopefully never. May he rot in Indian jails until he is finally hanged. As a Pakistani I definitely do not want him back in this country. And there are many more we should also send to India, since we are incapable of punishing them ourselves.Recommend

  • ABDV
    Apr 7, 2011 - 7:04PM

    Where’s the Indian brigade which always likes to uphold the honour of its supreme agency ‘Research and Analysis Wing’ and claim that Pakistanis live in a delusional mindset when they suspiciously think of the forementioned organisation?Recommend

  • Ittefaq Khan
    Apr 7, 2011 - 7:04PM

    Actually, India shall be destroyed at all costs. The atrocities it has committed explicitly by operating in Sri Lanka, and implicitly through it’s espionage missions in the region have made its downfall inevitable.

    This Gopal is such an unfortunate person, since he had missed his major chunk of life ; missing the golden era of Indian Music in the lights of Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, and Sonu Nigam. He had also not witnessed the paradigm shift in the international arena post 911.

    Now somebody asks Indian Intelligence what is his life worth now? After 26 years of captivity, he must be like a new born kid intellectually, of course, worse.

    What a lament this region is!!

    “Utho wagarna hashar na hoga kabhi”Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Apr 7, 2011 - 7:04PM

    @Avinash: You have been dreaming of Akhand Baharat since August 15th 1947, borders to
    extend from Burma to Oxus, Himalays to Maldive. If the British had been wise they should have given independence to all nations residing in this sub-continent. If Muslims got Pakistan
    the Sikhs should have got Khalistan, The Dravidians and Kols TamilNadu Republic and so forth.Recommend

  • Farhad Agha
    Apr 7, 2011 - 7:06PM

    lovely Mr. Ittefaq. Very well saidRecommend

  • Paras Vikmani
    Apr 7, 2011 - 8:26PM

    y have no pakistani media covered the anna hazare fast against corruption issue yet?Recommend

  • Vicram Singh
    Apr 7, 2011 - 8:50PM

    @Khalid Rahim: ” If Muslims got Pakistan
    the Sikhs should have got Khalistan, The Dravidians and Kols TamilNadu Republic and so forth.

    The great Islamic experiment in falling apart – Baluchistan wants to go away, KP is 50-50 sold into the Pakistan idea – the Sindhis would be too happy to go for Sindhudesh if Karachi could be cleansed of the Mohajirs. What remains will be a rump Punjabistan.Recommend

  • Vicram Singh
    Apr 7, 2011 - 8:53PM

    @Ittefaq Khan: ” … Now somebody asks Indian Intelligence what is his life worth now? … ”

    I personally have no faith at all in the abilities of RAW. I am actually quite dejected that Gopal was left to languish in prison for 27 years. I hang my head in shame.Recommend

  • Hafeez.Indian
    Apr 7, 2011 - 11:30PM

    Salam Alaikkum Pak Bhayiyon,
    Really I am thankful to the Pak Leaders and Pak Citizens.Definitely India also should release some Pak prisoners if they are in captivty for more than 27 years.
    Khudha Hafiz.Recommend

  • Dr Mishra
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:17AM

    What a waste of a life? And how sad to see such hatred on this blog. No one thinks of the fishermen rotting on both sides. WHERE IS THE COMPASSIONATE ISLAM, and whither pacifist hindus?
    Grow up everyone, shame on you, we deserve this hell of a sub continent. Goodwill of cricket did not last 1 week, the stench in the blogs, sorry bogs, has started againRecommend

  • Fahad Raza
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:46AM

    It absurd that we keep spies for 27 long years. Be merciful have them done in 27 week at most. If convicted do them and give the body, if innocent sent them back to where they are from. Don’t keep them hanging around for more than 2 years. If they are poor fishermen return them via sea with their boats and tag them so that they don’t make the same mistake twice.

    That way political point scoring will cease for the benefit of Pakistan. As for this lad here DAS Bonn voyage Mr.Das. It looks he is quite dejected with his institution.

    Poor soul he might be saying to himself.

    Wehshat ka sabab Roozane Zandaan to nahi hey…
    Mehro Mah e Anjum ko bujha kyun mahi detey.. Recommend

  • Modasar
    Apr 8, 2011 - 2:44AM

    We all long Indian leadership will never take risk with Pakistan? i wonder why?Recommend

  • maynotmatter
    Apr 8, 2011 - 3:57AM

    Really appreciate this gesture from president. Spies are nothing but instrument of hatred and insecurity used by people with power. They suffer for their misplaced patriotism. I wish no more citizens of India and Pakistan have to suffer at each other’s jail for their so called “patriotic” act.

    @Zeeshan Siddique
    Well said Zeeshan. You are truly the legacy of the only family who suffered partition. Ask any Indian in bengal and punjab what happened to their ancestor during partition. I know for fact few people whose elders were burned alive. It was not a happy partition, what did you expect? This is not the place and time to bring all the ugly past. You can live in that and keep hating or help constructively to make sure something as gruesome as that does not repeat for our and coming generations. People like you keep this wall between Indian and Pakistani. History should be used to learn from our past mistakes and not an excuse to keep repeating or making new mistakes. Please my brother don’t take this as offense.Recommend

  • maynotmatter
    Apr 8, 2011 - 4:02AM

    @Ittefaq Khan
    I am glad there are fewer Pakistanis like you who still dream of breaking India. Yes India was broken once and that broken piece is called Pakistan :)Recommend

  • Raj
    Apr 8, 2011 - 4:31AM

    @Tariq..”When India will release Ajmal Kasab on humanitarian grounds?” I think India should release Ajmal Kasab after 25 years. Hats off to you that you accepted Ajmal Kasab as your fellow Pakistani citizen.Recommend

  • Ron(Indian)
    Apr 8, 2011 - 7:48AM

    Surprising thing pakistani media is not notising the revolution in India. India started fighting corruption. “Anna hazare” has started revolution in India. It is very surprising that pakistani media not covering it.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Siddique
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:38PM

    @ maynotmatter: No offence taken

    To be honest I’d rather live in a Pakistan which is safe and prospering and whose neighbours respect its solidarity and accept it as an independent state, but sorry to burst this bubble of “Peace” for as long as this tyrant mindset of India remains no such structure can be build on which you can hang your frame of “Peace” – The idea of still dreaming to “Akhand Bharat” lingers in their rotten minds the so called legacy of “Asoka” is their on their flag and currency and is embedid in the very fabric of their thinking.

    Look no further then the Indian presence in Afghanistan and what follows after that in your tribal belt & Baluchistan – Remember this “IQBAL the visionary” was a man of great vision and he’d foreseen this way before any one could’ve imagined.

    I have a fair amount of time with Indians living abroad & trust you me “they are not our friends” to say the least : Live & Let Live !Recommend

  • bvindh
    Apr 8, 2011 - 8:53PM

    In reply, Hindustan should should show its large-heartedness by honorably releasing the Ashiqe Rasool Ghaziye Mulk Ajmal Kasab.Recommend

  • John
    Apr 9, 2011 - 4:51AM

    @Vicram Singh:
    What do you think that foreign ministers / secretaries talk during their meeting.

    This has been a long issue, fraught with ego and politics on both sides.

    There are few in Indian prisons, if I recollect, from PAK but PAK does not acknowledge them, so it is a night mare.

    Read in india news that Das was complaining that Indian gov did not advance his case.

    Once he comes to know the truth in coming years, his perception might change. But bitterness will remain. Recommend

  • no aman ki aasha
    Apr 18, 2011 - 9:03AM

    We as indians , do not have such high ideals of desttroying u guys ..we want to live and we dont want to harm u either…

    but whenever ( since 1985( i was a 5 yr old then)), i have been observing, that indias lend a friendship hand which would be cut by the pakistani army…how many times that we should come out there as a big brother, when the younger one want die in his own wounds and he still harbours the revenge…

    does it only mulsims who have faced the wrath of partition..our muslim brothers in idna have also faced, our sikh brothers have also faced and so we hindus too…

    but its time to move on and build a strong country..i want want my country to waste its previous time on such silly matters..i know very well about the our buerocracy…they will not change, but that does mean that i would feel that my country will not grow…

    we are now more confident on our country than before inspite of all there baggages of history…

    But pakisthani;s are never low, they always want revenge and kashimir..brothers lets keep it aside and first grow and make west realise our potential instead of quarrelling like silly borthers..hopefully india has learn to behave like a Mature country…will Pakistan behave the same way too?

    we dont praaise the terrosits, be it he has done it in our country or in any other..but are Pakistani’s willing to take the same stand? no they wontRecommend

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