ISLAMABAD: There is no proof that the shoes of Chetankul Jadhav, wife of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, had something, and suspicions of ‘something’ attached to them, for either spying or recording purposes, are false.
It has been over one month now since security agencies confiscated Chetankul’s shoes, but each time the Foreign Office is asked, the response is that the relevant department has not shared anything, reported leading English daily.
The Indian lady had gone to the Indian High Commission after her arrival by air and there were suspicions that a change of shoes could have taken place there since her original shoes had been cleared by several airport checks.
Some experts claim that it is possible that Pakistan does not to go public with the information in case some ‘bug’ has been detected while avoiding to create a hype and it is possible that during back-channel contacts the issue is brought up.
On December 25, last year the spokesman at the Foreign Office had commented, “We have provided an alternative pair of shoes after her shoes were removed. There was something in the shoe.”
However, though Jadhav himself creates a lot of media hype whenever given an opportunity to speak, not much is being said in Indian circles about Kashmir Singh who was imprisoned in Pakistan for spying for India in 1974.
It is to be remembered that in 2008 when General Musharraf set him free, he crossed into Attari and shouted to the Indian media, shocking everyone, “I have been trained by the Indian military intelligence and spied for them before being captured. Today this agency has completely forgotten about me.”
Recently, Indian media reported that it interviewed the 22-year-old Kashmir Singh who said, “I am still ready to serve my motherland. Even if they [the government of India] do not accept the fact that I worked for them, it doesn’t matter. I don’t regret serving my country.”
His wife told the media, “He used to tell us that he worked for the Army and had to travel often. If I do not return, the Army will take care of the family,’ he would often say to assure me.” Singh says he remembers most of his assignments across the border. “I was approached by a recruiter of the Army intelligence. I was asked if I was willing to go to Pakistan. I readily accepted the offer. Then, I was given a three-month training, primarily in photography, at Jalandhar. As a part of my training I clicked pictures in and around Jalandhar Cantonment and at strategic locations in Amritsar,” Singh says.
He was paid a salary of Rs480 every month by the MI, which he says was documented but neither he nor the family have any papers to show. “I regularly received the salary for over two years before I was caught. I was also given a daily allowance of Rs150, whenever I went to Pakistan,” he says.
He recalls that on his debut, he was escorted by officials of the agency to the Indo-Pak border near Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district, from where he crossed over to Pakistan early one morning in 1969.
“After my first successful visit to Kahna Kacha in Lahore, my confidence grew. On this trip, I was assigned to take pictures of strategic installations in Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur and Sahiwal. Following this, I made over 50 trips to Pakistan. I would visit Pakistan, click pictures and return usually within seven to ten days. I once clicked pictures of the T-59 tanks, which Pakistan had procured from China,” he says.
Finally, he was arrested near the 22nd Milestone on the Peshawar-Rawalpindi road.
He was on his way to Lahore after taking some pictures in Peshawar for his handlers and was to return to India the following day. Singh said he spent time in several Pakistani jails till Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney, got him freed on humanitarian grounds.
Singh claimed that there were about 35 or 36 others Indians at that time languishing in Lahore Central jail, facing similar cases of espionage. As is the norm the world over, once your cover is blown, the government washes its hands off you.
According to Chandigarh-based human-rights activist and senior lawyer Ranjan Lakhanpal, the government never admits the existence of its spies. “They [spies] are our heroes but once their cover is blown the government disowns them. The government should reward them and take care of their families. Most of them have sacrificed their youth for the nation but yet they are unsung. It is interesting that though Singh never admitted while in jail that he was a spy unlike Jadhav who confessed while still being in custody.”