The family of 14-year-old Abdul Samad has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his early release and return to his home in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Samad was held in November last year after he allegedly accidentally crossed the Line of Control (LoC) into the Indian side near Poonch.
Speaking to News18 over the phone from Lahore, Samad’s maternal uncle Arbab Ali said his nephew loved his pet pigeons and he strayed into the Indian side while following the birds on November 25 last year. Arbab said the family home in the village of Tatrinote is just a few metres from the LoC, close to the Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point on Poonch-Rawlakote Road. Tatrinote is about 8 kilometres from Poonch City.
“Samad is fond of pets, he also has a dog. He set the pigeons free that day and followed them into the Indian side. He is just a child. He did not realise that he was crossing the LoC,” said Arbab Ali.
Samad is a student of class 9 in the Stars School System Tatrinote in PoK, says his family. He was brought up by his maternal grandparents, Md Aslam and Khatija Begum, after his mother passed away. Samad was three months old at the time. Samad’s father Banaras Ali later remarried.
Arbab Ali said the whole family is longing for his return and he pleaded for help from the Indian side.
Sources in the government told News18 that they are familiar with the case of the teenager but added that the Pakistani side is yet to approach India for the consular access of Samad. “We have not yet been approached by the Pakistan side,” said a source.
An official at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi told News18 that they are not aware of the matter.
After being apprehended, Samad was produced before the Juvenile Justice Board in Poonch and is now in a home for juvenile offenders in RS Pura, Jammu.