Freed oldest prisoner gets 'official' send-off

Freed oldest prisoner gets 'official' send-off

108-yr-old Brij Bihari was 84 when he killed four people

On Friday evening, when Brij Bihari was released on a special bail granted by the court, he still could not walk and had to be carried away in a vehicle but there was a big difference. He was free and could breathe in the fresh air and also visit his native village.

His release, on the ground that he was infirm and crippled and had been suffering from various age-related ailments, was cheered not only by the other inmates but also by the jail staff. In fact it was the jail staff, which had sought his release.

Jailor Navami Lal garlanded Brij Bihari, when his release order reached the jail  and the vehicle, which was there to take Brij Bihari home, was allowed inside the jail premises, a rarity, as he was unable to walk.

Brij Bihari, a resident of the neighbouring Maharjganj district, was convicted along with 15 others in December 2009 for the murder of four people about 24 years back following a rivalry over inheriting the post of “mahant” (head of Hindu religious institution) of a temple.

Brij Bihari was already 84 when he perpetrated the crime and grew weaker as the trial lingered on and by the time the decision of the trial court came, he was nearing 107.

“He had not been keeping well and had to be shifted to hospital on many occasions,” said the jail officials.  The officials had also sent a clemency petition to Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi last year.

The Allahabad High Court had, taking into account his age, granted him bail in May last but he could not be released as those, who were to furnish the bail bond, failed to appear in the court then.

Finally a relative of Brij Bihari and two others appeared before Special Judge (gangster’s court) K K Pandey on Friday and completed the formalities. The release order reached the Gorakhpur district jail at around six in the evening.

The oldest prisoner was so happy at his release that he could barely speak. He simply nodded and looked up as if he was thanking the almighty but the eyes said everything and left for his village.

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