For Haryana prisoner, the journey from release order to freedom takes 7 years

FPJagdish’s brother and son

On May 22, 2006, orders were passed to release Jagdish, a murder convict lodged in Hisar jail. But it took almost seven years for the orders to be implemented. Jagdish, a resident of Rattanpura in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan, was finally freed on April 6 this year.

While nobody from his family was willing to stand surety for him, the Haryana and Rajasthan authorities engaged in a protracted series of communications which continued for the last seven years. In fact, the prisoner's release order file runs into over 1,000 pages, including 400 communications exchanged between numerous officials.

The incident dates back to July 16, 1990, when Jagdish, then 35, killed his wife Savitri at her parents' house in Mithi Sareran village, in Ellanabad district of Haryana. On August 31, 1992, the Sirsa district and sessions court sentenced him to life imprisonment.

After serving 14 years of his term, Jagdish was granted relief on May 22, 2006 by the state level committee which ordered his release. And then began his long wait.

As nobody from his family stepped forward, Jagdish was to be released on a personal bond. The Haryana authorities sought a report from the district magistrate of Hanumangarh, Rajasthan. But the then district magistrate expressed his reservations and claimed that Jagdish was a "threat to society".

Since the Haryana government had already issued his release orders, this led to a peculiar situation as both the state officials tried to convince each other.

In a communication sent on August 28, 2006, the Hanumangarh district magistrate said: "He is a hardcore criminal and heinous type of man. If released, there will be breach of peace. Besides, this convict has also murdered his father and son."

But a year later, on July 23, 2007, the same official clarified that Jagdish had been acquitted in the case related to his father's death, and that his son was alive. However, he continued to oppose his release.

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