On August 7, a Delhi court acquitted a man in a POCSO case, observing that he had been “falsely framed due to prejudicial disposition of the parents towards the accused, who belongs to the Dalit community”.
The case against him was registered in 2015, on the complaint of a man who accused him of sexually assaulting four minor girls. The prosecution accused him of being a “serial sexual” offender. He was arrested on May 18, 2015, when the alleged incident took place.
After his acquittal, The Indian Express has reached out to the man for his detailed exclusive interview. The falsely accused man had a recurring dream during six years of his jail time; he would fly, but fall to the ground when he saw his worried wife. He also dreamt of catching a bus home, however, when he would wake up to reality, inside his cell at Tihar jail, he was reminded of being an under trial in a POCSO case. Quoting to TIE, the man said,
I always used to fly in my dreams. The strange thing is that now that I have been released, I have stopped flying in my dreams. I want to fly again, one more time.
False POCSO Case:
The complainant was found to have filed a false case after the 55-year-old objected to his dog defecating outside his house in outer Delhi district.
The court, in its order, said,
Parents of the victim girls indulged in the sinister act of tutoring their daughters in a most brazen and shameless manner and merely because accusations or charges against the accused are grave, severe or despicable.
The court also ordered the state to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the accused within two months, observing that this was a “symbolic amount and without prejudice to his legal rights and contentions.” One must note that compensation in such false cases are rare and hardly matter, as they cannot compensate the crucial years of life that one spends in jail along with the tag of being labelled as a rapist.
A month after his release, he is still trying to get used to his freedom. He has been vaccinated, but doesn’t want to step out. He quoted,
Everything has changed. Everyone wears a mask, people think twice before going out. I spent an even harsher lockdown in jail. To be honest, I am not in a right frame of mind. I will take my time going outside.
He says for the first few years in prison, he was angry, but has now learnt to forgive. Taking out a copy of the Bible, he said,
I barely understand what is written in this. But I now know God is one. I forgive them for filing the case. I feel no anger anymore. I was framed for being a Dalit and six years of my life were taken from me.
The man’s wife, 58, works as a ragpicker, earning Rs 100 on a good day. His 30-year-old son gets Rs 12,000 per month, working 12-hour shifts at a denim factory. The family has a debt of Rs 5 lakh – the cost of moving houses, seeking to flee from discrimination, and mounting daily expenses.
Six years ago, the 55-year-old worked as a security guard. His former employer, a senior bank manager who testified on his behalf in court said,
He had a spring in his step and worked overtime. Now, he is afraid of crossing the road, the honking sound of vehicles disturbs him and he often forgets his way home.
The now acquitted man added,
I have forgotten how to use a smartphone. I have learnt to switch it on and off. I can’t even buy groceries. I have lost my appetite. I am exhausted all the time. I can’t work.
In Tihar, he also learnt to paint. His favourite subjects were politicians, Hindu gods, bank-related advertisements, and portraits of actor Deepika Padukone. He quoted,
This kept me sane. I spent the lockdown in jail. It was harsher. I slept inside a cell with a dozen other people, without maintaining social distancing. I could not speak to my wife due to the lockdown. But I survived.
Now that his trial is over, he wants to visit his ailing mother in Rajasthan.
She keeps calling me, crying on the phone. I don’t have money for the trip. Nor do I have the strength. I want to go and see her.
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