A 60-year-old man from Bihar's West Champaran district, who was believed to have died about three years back, has been found in a jail in Bangladesh.
The revelation came on Tuesday evening after a branch of the Red Cross Society in Bettiah approached the family members of Ramdev Mahato, incarcerated in Champai Nawabganj jail in Bangladesh, with his message forwarded by Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
"Hope all you be alright. I am lodged in a jail at Bangladesh and needed certain documents for my release from here," reads the message form, RFL/9013/27/RCM/Jail, dated October 28, 2020, a copy of which is with HT.
Back in his native village, emotions ran high among family members as news came about Ramdev's whereabouts.
"We were just hoping against hope and were under immense pressure from the local villagers to perform his last rites. But we chose to avoid it in the hope of a miracle," said Sunil Mahato (30), Ramdev Mahato's son.
Ramdev Mahato left his Gudara village in Majhauliya panchayat for Deoghar on July 30, 2017 to offer holy water to Lord Shiva during the Hindu month of Shravan.
"He was traceless since then. But I believed that he would return sooner or later," said Ghogha Devi, Ramdev's wife, adding it was this belief that she had not stopped applying vermillion.
Dr Jagmohan Kumar, secretary of Red Cross Society, said Ramdev, lodged in jail in Bangladesh from November 30, 2018, was found out by Red Cross Family news service, a network that works across international borders with an aim to restore and re-establish contacts between separated family members and reuniting them.
"It requires some documents such ration card, Aadhar card, voter card, Ramdev's single and family photograph to initiate the process for his release," said Dr. Jagmohan, adding the family members are likely to submit the same by Thursday.
It is not yet known why and how he crossed the border and ended up in a Bangladeshi jail.