From correspondents in Faizabad, India - February 15, 2006
A MAN who was accused of murder and languished in prison for
38 years after becoming lost in India's bureaucracy was reunited
with his family today after finally being freed by a Supreme Court order.
Jagjivan Yadav, 70, was greeted by around 700 people as he arrived in his village in Uttar Pradesh state, but said the only member of his family he recognised was his wife.
"I can hardly recognise anyone. They say they are my relatives, but I do not remember," he said.
The only person Yadav recognised was his wife, Patto Devi.
Devi said she had thought her husband was dead, having lost touch with him after his arrest for the murder of a woman in 1968.
Among the welcoming crowd were people whose evidence had led to his arrest, but one, Deo Dutt Yadav, said police had forced him to testify against Yadav.
After his incarceration, Yadav's family fell upon hard times and his wife went to live with her brother.
His trial on murder charges had opened briefly but the authorities forgot about him after he was moved to another city for a medical check-up.
Thirty-five years later he was transferred to a prison in Faizabad district, 150 kilometres southeast of state capital Lucknow, where his case came to light when a local official sought information about the status of the trials of all inmates.
The Supreme Court took note of the case after a few lawyers rallied for Yadav's release, and he was granted bail on Monday.
Yadav's lawyer said he would seek compensation.