Innocent man in jail for 20 years walks free

Vishnu Tiwari walked out of Agra Central Jail with three bags to start a new life. In them were his clothes, Rs 600 left over from the stipend he got in jail for his work and a copy of the high court judgment that had ordered his release after 20 years of wrongful incarceration on rape charges. He was wearing a T-shirt gifted by one of his fellow inmates.

As he made his way out, they cheered, garlanded him and applauded. He was finally getting justice and the inmates — the only friends he had had — were happy for him. The moment he stepped out, it all fell silent. No one had turned up to receive him. Two of his brothers and father had died years ago. His elder brother had long disowned him. His younger brother, 33, could not make it. “No one should go through what I did. Many innocent people are languishing in jail. The authorities should at least get them a fair trial,” Vishnu said.

He had lost the fight in him while he was in prison, after trying once, in 2005, to challenge the trial court’s decision to sentence him to life. But prison authorities stepped in on his behalf, approached the State Legal Services Authority and placed his case in HC again which, on January 28, found him not guilty.

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