WOW | WOW Report
Despite laws and policies, sometimes innocent people get convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. After research and investigation, WOW’s Ankita Jain discovers a few such heart-wrenching stories with the help of Prisoner Assistance Nepal. Below are five real-life cases.
Life can just change in one strike. In Basundhara’s case, it was an acid attack by her husband with whom she had three children. Her hand, chest and an eye got affected. The moment she fainted after the attack, her husband poured the acid on himself. Minutes later, their elder boy came to rescue and called an ambulance. Basundhara was regaining consciousness and helped her husband to the ambulance. What came as a shock was that her husband kept screaming, “My wife did it; she is a mad woman”. According to Basundhara, her husband was digging a grave for her for a long time. He was involved in an extramarital affair with a colleague and wanted to get rid of her and the children. “I tried hard to keep my family together but I failed,” she shares. When she refused to leave the house, she became a victim of his evil plan and served imprisonment for more than three years. Meanwhile, her husband, who was barely affected by the acid, got hold of the house and married the other woman. “Even today I have eyesight problem due to the acid attack. The wound however runs deeper in my heart,” she says.
Sometimes being generous makes you gullible. Dil Kumari’s generosity sent her behind bars for human trafficking. Even as a young woman, Dil Kumari was a humanitarian. Her neighbour’s 15-year-old daughter wanted work and reached out to Dil Kumari. “Since the girl insisted for help, I got her a job in the city as a housekeeper,” she recalls. After a few days, the girl’s parents along with the police visited her and blamed her for human trafficking. “I tried my best to explain and defend myself but I was arrested,” she says. Meanwhile, Dil’s family reached the girl working in the city and requested her to return home at the earliest. The girl returned the same day and told the truth to her parents. But they threatened her and she was forced to remain silent. This incident landed Dil Kumari in jail with a seven year sentence for human trafficking. Though they weren’t capable of hiring a lawyer, her family consulted and hired one. The lawyer gave them hope, charged Rs three lakhs and did the least to solve anything. Today, Dil Kumari, a mother of five thinks a hundred times before helping anyone. “For me, my kids are everything. The only desire I am working towards is to make them well educated and independent,” she says.
Meena Kumari led a pretty normal life in a remote village of Sindhuli until her husband was murdered. Meena was unwell and asleep in her room when out of the blue, the police came and arrested her. She was told that her husband has been murdered and her relatives had informed the police and accused her. Despite everyone going against her, she still had hope of being proven not guilty in the court. “When the judgment arrived, I was devastated to find out that my son played key eyewitness and went against me. I was shattered, I cursed everyone but somewhere I was happy for my son. My imprisonment handed him a small share of the property as promised by his uncle in return of the court statement,” she shares. Meena was imprisoned for seven years. Besides a son, she also has two daughters who were later taken care by Prisoner Assistance Nepal. Today she is known as thulo ma in one of the home care centres of PA Nepal. Once in a while, she also visits her village to meet her son and his children. “I have moved ahead in life. I can’t rectify what happened in the past but I can make my present worth living,” she says.
We have heard of honour killing, but Ambika Gadtuola’s inter caste marriage paved the road towards three years of imprisonment. Ambika belongs to a Brahmin family while her chosen partner is a Dalit. She got married when she was 20 years old and moved to Jhapa. Her marriage was opposed by every member of her family, especially by her maternal uncle who resides in Jhapa. She went from pillar to post trying to convince her family but it didn’t work. Later, her maternal uncle couldn’t tolerate the offence and planned a trap for the couple. He got them arrested in a human trafficking case. Ambika who was expecting her first child was sentenced to imprisonment along with her husband. She gave birth in jail. “Those three years of my life were a nightmare which I never want anyone to experience,” she says. Today, she is mother of two children and her husband works as a tailor.