A very frail figure, draped in a beige shawl in the sweltering heat and sporting an olive green Pakistani salwar, accompanied by a police official, tottered towards a chair in the Amphala prison compound. Mohammad Nazir Rahi, is a supposedly 80-year-old alleged Pakistani national who was an under-trial when I met him at the Amphala jail, in Jammu in August 2015. In the time I spent with him, he spoke incoherently, repeatedly murmuring “Mujhe do rupaye mein bech diya hein”—I have been sold off.
Access to Rahi was not easy. Security in the prisons had tightened following an attack in Udhampur in the Jammu region in which two LeT armed terrorists attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy. My visit was just the day after, and the police authorities in Jammu asked me to hand them my questionnaire. I was told I had to confine myself to the questionnaire or my interview with the prisoners would be terminated. Following this, I had to hand over my notes too for screening. They were only returned to me in November 2015.
A senior BSF official who asked not to be named, told me that Rahi was apprehended by the BSF on 8 October 2014 at Suchetgarh in Jammu district. At that time, Rahi provided sketchy details to the officials. He told them that on 3 October 2014, he had left Lahore for Sialkot by bus for his medical treatment at a place called Jalal-Hakim. The next day, his daughter and her husband visited him and all three of them stayed there for around four days. Subsequently, his daughter and her husband returned to Lahore while Rahi claimed to have lost his way and reached the India-Pakistan border, inadvertently entering Indian territory.