It was an emotional moment for Makhani Devi, 70, to see her husband Gajanand Sharma (71) stepping down from a white car, after 36 years. The couple united in Jaipur on Tuesday, a day after Sharma was released from a Pakistani jail on Monday.

After spending nearly four decades in jail, Gajanand Sharma, a labourer from Jaipur, received a warm welcome on his home coming. Hundreds of crackers were burst and heaps of flowers were showered upon him. Apart from his family members, long queues of citizens of Jaipur and hundreds of media persons waited outside his house.

“Mujhe wapas aake bahut accha lag raha hai (It feels so good to return), Yahan sab badla badla sa lag raha hai (Every thing looks changed here)”, these were the first few words Gajanand said while sitting next to his wife.

When DH asked how he felt upon his release, he said “I cannot thank him (God) enough”. His wife Makhani Devi, who was draped in a red bhandej saree with lac bangles around her wrist just like a newly wed, told DH with teary eyes, “I feel it’s my rebirth. The day is important just like my wedding day. Today is the festival of Teej and i feel lucky to have husband back in my life. From last few years I had stopped fast on Karva Chauth (fast kept by women for long life of husband). But today I have dressed up in full Shringaar for my husband.” After her husband’s disappearance, Makhani Devi worked as a peon in a private hospital and raised her two sons.

At the reception were his two sons and grand daughters and relatives, who put a garland around his neck and took blessings. Gajanand Sharma was traced on May 7 this year and it was confirmed that he is lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.

The Ministry of External Affairs had sent a query to the state intelligence to confirm the nationality and whereabouts of Sharma on May 1. The CID then forwarded the query to Samod police and found that Sharma’s family had left Samod village and moved to Jaipur’s Brahampuri area. And police finally confirmed Gajanand’s presence in the Pakistan jail.

On August 9, Gajanand’s family after meeting Union minister of state for external affairs V K Singh, with BJP MP from Jaipur Ramcharan Bohra and Hawamahal MLA Surendra Pareek in New Delhi, were informed that he will be released on Monday.

Sharma is among 30 prisoners, including 29 fishermen, who were released and handed over to Indian authorities.

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