[“My Caged Life” is a new series which is the first attempt of its kind in India to bring the agony of men and their families who underwent arrest and illegal detention in different false criminal cases mostly under Indian dowry laws. All these stories are told to The Male Factor team by these victims and their families. Names are changed in all cases to restrict legal implications.
If you were detained illegally in any criminal case without proper investigation or on any false complaint, please contact us through the “Contact Me” link of this website and tell us your story. This series will be published on every Saturday on this website.
Read all stories under “My Caged Life” – here.]
Inmates in hell
[What happened so far –
In 2011, when my family was planning my birthday and enjoying themselves, local police barged into our house. They showed my arrest warrant and pulled me by the collar in front of all my family members and curious neighbors. My birthday turned into a nightmare for all of us. My mother fainted in the police station after they abused me in filthiest possible language]
The Police officer was rude as usual as if they have caught a hard-wired criminal. Very soon they asked my family members to leave the police station and stop the “drama” there as after arrest only a court could give me bail.
My parents left after my mother regained consciousness. I was looking at them in despair from behind the bars as I was feeling every moment that my father could have got a heart attack too. Luckily he did not. They were not able to walk out and the policemen were all emotionless.
As a kid, I have always looked at this beautiful world in the eyes of a child wonderer who wanted to explore the beautiful world. I belonged to a moderately established respectable family from New Alipore, Kolkata. My father was a govt. an employee who could not afford many luxuries in our lives but my mother was happy raising two of us within the limited resources she had. They both wanted to see me happy in my life. So they were happy to get me married after I got a good job in a private sector company. They were hoping to see a bright future for their small but happy family.
But I knew their dreams of a better life for their son has ended with this arrest. My software and hardware degrees and a job as a hardware and networking engineer in a private farm seemed to be in the doldrums. All the dreams that we ever had were shattered in no time.
I was not sure how long I kept my eyes closed and cried vigorously within me. I couldn’t see my parents in pain. I was blaming Lord Shiva for bringing this day to us. I was questioning my belief if the Lord really existed?
The cell had only one toilet and the other two inmates were frequently going there. The drug addict was vomiting several times and cleaning that with a piece of cloth without water. I felt like vomiting too. It was like I was truly in a hell made by our own people.
The police had given me some clothes to wear. But all of those were stinking like hell. By wearing those itself felt like me living in a gutter. The hardware and networking engineer who always lived in a decent neighbourhood and raised with clean habits it was more than an experience of hell. There was no difference between me and a hardcore criminal who were not literate. Probably they were better off because they would not have had the feeling of insult, cruelty, loss of family reputation, the danger of losing their parents or job. I had all of these. I died every moment in utter shame that I could not save my family reputation. The drug addict was crying the whole night in pain due to non-availability of his drugs. A big fat rat was frequently visiting the cell in search of food as I looked at them blankly. I could barely get to sleep. Probably I got some sleep in early morning hours.
My birthday in 2011 started in hell.
I didn’t know when I woke up. The police gave me some food cooked in their kitchen. The first glimpse of the food itself made me vomit. I was better dying of starvation.
After the morning breakfast on the first day, the IO came to the cell. He started questioning why I was illegally keeping my wife’s articles and not returning them to her as she had complained. I informed him that I had already given the list of her articles with me and I was more than willing to return all those articles. But the police never came to my house to retrieve them.
With this, the IO became more attacking and started abusing me in filthiest possible language. I wished I were the drug addict without any senses or if I could die in that instance. Good that my parents were not there. Otherwise, they would have died at the spot hearing those abuses.
After a few hours, one policeman came in and tied a rope around all three of our waist like criminals and took us to a govt. hospital for a check-up. I was walking with two other criminals, tied along with those in the full glare of others.
This was the routine for every single day I was in police custody. All hospital staff used to give me a strange look. They used to ask me how I had tortured my wife. I was no better than a criminal in their eyes. All my education, corporate job, social reputation went to the gutter. I had become a pound of flesh who could walk and talk. The human soul inside me died an early death.
The second day in my custody was the day of Mahalaya (auspicious start of Durga Puja). My wife and her family visited me at the police station to check me in custody. The IO told me that he wanted to go to my home for streedhan (property of a wife) recovery. I repeated that I was willing to return a few of her articles with me and rest were already with her in our rented house that she was occupying with her boyfriend.
Some of the articles mentioned by my wife as Gold ornaments were actually imitation jewellery. But police kept on pestering for recovery of original gold jewellery from me. They gave my wife a chance to interrogate me in front of them in police custody and she continued with all her false allegations. Since the interrogation was fruitful, IO informed my wife that he was going to vehemently oppose my bail plea in the court and ensure that I stayed there until the end of Durga Puja.
This routine of torture continued for a few days until the day of producing me before the magistrate came. I was made to stand in the witness box along with many other criminals whose bail hearing was up for that day. My wife and the public prosecutor opposed my bail plea vehemently as all streedhan articles were not recovered. But the magistrate granted me bail seeing my previously submitted list of articles and willingness to return a few that I had with me.
I was devastated by the ordeal of the police procedures in those days. My family members broke down in tears in the courtroom. I held the railing of the witness box and tried hard to control my emotions but in the end, gave in to a tsunami of emotions. Other criminals were staring at me in amazement. Someone commented, “sale ne apne hi biwi ka cheez churaya” (he stole his own wife’s belongings).
My sight of the courtroom was getting blurred as I saw my parents and sister hugging each other and crying like children. Each one of them wanted to pacify the other but was not able to control their own emotions.
My wife and her family left the courtroom in disgust. Her eyes giving the signal that her revenge was not over yet…