Trial after 54 yrs, man freed

Himalayan News Service

Guwahati, July 24:

A court in Assam has freed a tribal man held in judicial custody for 54 years, though he was never tried for the crime that led to his arrest. Machang Lalung, 77, was arrested sometime in 1951 from his native village of Silsang in eastern Assam’s Morigaon district in northeastern India. There are no official police records now to pinpoint the crime for which Lalung was put behind bars, expect for a document that indicates he was booked under section 326 of the Indian Penal Code. This section pertains a non-bailable offence for “voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means”. After his arrest, police shifted Lalung to a mental asylum in the town of Tezpur, and since then he languished there without ever facing trial. The National Human Rights Commission took up his case. The case came up for hearing for the first time this month at the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Guwahati. Lalung was eventually freed with a token personal release bond of Rs1 with magistrate HK Sarma terming

his case as “unusual”.