NATIONAL

Everybody was nice to me: Munir

NEW DELHI AUG. 10. One wrong turn brought 13-year-old Munir Mohammad Bilal into India over 40 days ago. Though he was detained, his stay here did him more good as he got a good exposure to life outside his village in Pakistan.

On his way back home, Munir today reached Delhi from Bikaner. As the Bikaner Express rolled into the Sarai Rohilla station here this evening, all eyes and cameras were once again trained on Munir — even members of the public ran in from all sides to have a glimpse of the boy. The glimmer in his eyes showed how happy he was to be on his way back home. He admitted that he was treated very well in India. Apart from some clothes, chocolates and sweets, Munir is also carrying the rakhis and friendship bands he got at the home in Bikaner. He keeps repeating that all the people were `bade hi changay' (very nice)

Barring these three words it is very difficult to make out Munir's language. The five-member Border Security Force patrol that caught him straying into India and the joint interrogation team also had a problem in communicating with the young boy.

It was sub-inspector Madho Singh of Sriganganagar police station, who understood Munir's language and helped him come out of the trauma.

Noting that Munir was ``like a son'' to him, Mr. Singh also helped translate whatever the boy was asked or had to say. He said Munir, who hailed from Battu Pind in Bahawalpur, had developed a liking for sweets — especially kheer.

The boy would be presented before officials of the Home Ministry tomorrow for completion of formalities before he would take a bus to Lahore on August 12.