I didn't murder my husband but truth prevailed after 13 yrs in jail. I am helping other women now get justice..
What is the upper limit of hatred? Where is the end point to an infinitely growing aversion? After coming across the story of Aparajita Bose, I couldn't understand what age is if it doesn't lead to maturity. An immatured and insensitive woman's egoistic decision ruined not only 13 spring years of Aparajita's life but also turned her sons to hate her. End of the story, Aparajita is an innocent woman who was punished for her non-doings. Today, after all that she has experienced for years, she is standing by the innocent victims and helping them find their way out of prisons. Her story raises questions as to why humans should take to anger and ego? It shows what it takes on children when they don't get what they rightfully need during childhood. More than anything, this story brings before us, the fire in a confident woman who lost the most important moments in her life to hatred, still, didn't lose heart, but is determined to save others not get victimized like her.
The Painful Story:
Aparajita Bose hails from Kolkata and pursued her graduation in English Literature from Loreto Convent. She fell in love with a man named Kunal and got married to him against family's wishes. While Kunal's family was opulent, Aparajita came from a middle class background. This, in particular, made Kunal's mother extremely unhappy. "This marriage won’t last for long,’ she’d say'", recalled Aparajita. Everyday, fights happened between Aparajita and her mother-in-law which continued even after the couple had two children. It was in 1999 that things started to take turns for worse when Kunal went missing. It was when Aparajita went to her parent's house that she got a call from her mother-in-law saying that Kunal went missing. Aparajita immediately contacted Kunal's friend Kalyan Roy with whom Kunal had business relationships with. After a week of lodging a missing complaint with the police, Roy informed Aparajita that Kunal was murdered. 31-year-old Aparajita whose sons were just 5 years and 3 years old then, collapsed on hearing the news. “I was called in to identify my husband’s body, but it was badly decomposed.", she recollected. Just two days later, the headlines in the local newspapers read, "Love triangle: wife murders husband for another man.’' Aparajita was accused of plotting with Roy to kill her husband. Without proper investigation, Aparajita, who was tried by media, was arrested. She pleaded her mother-in-law to tell the truth but in vain. Her in-laws who are boundlessly angry on her, accused her with the same charges. When Aparajita applied for bail, her mother-in-law objected the plea and Bose had to suffer in prison for 13 years of her life. “I begged my mother-in-law to tell the truth, but she stayed mum. In fact, after 5 years of jail term, when I applied for bail, she objected and my plea was rejected", she said with a heavy heart.
Life In And After Prison:
What it is like to spend in jail for an educated, well-versed woman who didn't commit any crime? Aparajita recollects her life in the prison where 45 prisoners shared a tiny cell. She just remained helpless when she was brutally hit by the jailers. In 2005, her father passed away and Aparajita couldn't even attend his funeral. All these years, she couldn't even meet her sons who were toddlers when she was arrested. Bose, who was convicted along with Kalyan Roy aka Nantu Roy in 2000, spent 13 years, that is, until 2013 in jail. When her appeal against her conviction and life sentence came to hearing at the Calcutta High Court, it released her on bail initially and later gave her a clean chit. When she wanted to meet her sons, it didn't work even then. To her utter disappointment, they developed hatred for her. “Finally, on 16th April, 2013 I was released on bail and soon after, acquitted of all charges. The first thing I wanted to do was to hug my sons, but my mother-in-law refused– ‘They’re happy without you,’ she said.", recounts Bose. She tried multiple times to meet her sons and finally when they met her in 2014, they asked her why had she killed their father. "I tried explaining my side of the story, but they refused to listen; we haven’t spoken since.”, said Bose.
Getting The Broken Pieces Together:
After her sons rejected to speak to her, Aparajita was heartbroken. She started to live with her mother and began to teach kids at a local NGO. She saw her kids in them. Around the same time, she learned about a Human Rights Law Network that fought for women like her. She started working as a receptionist for them but the fire in her to fight for the prisoners came to be noticed by the department and her profile was changed. Aparajita visits jails, talks to prisoners and extends legal help to them. "She painstakingly goes through prison and court records and liases with advocates.”, said Savio Pinto, Coordinator of HRLN's Kolkata. Over these years, Aparajita helped 10 innocent victims receive justice. "Each time one of them got out of jail, it felt as if I was getting a new life", she said with gleaming face. Today, she is the Assistant Director of the network. Talking about what takes her when she is alone, she says, "On some days, I think, ‘If Kunal was here, would he have let all this happen to me?’ and cry bitterly. But then I think, ‘Maybe God wanted me to go through this so that I could help other victims,’ and then I carry on with my job, invincibly.”
Aparajita goes to meet victims in Kolkata’s Alipore and Presidency jails along with those in prisons of various towns of West Bengal like Midnapore, Behrampore, Malda and Balurghat. She also speaks at various seminars on jail reforms and welfare of prisoners. She also talked at the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. “Women suffer more than men in jail. While a male prisoner is accepted by his family and society after completing his sentence, women face rejection and stigmatization even after they are given a clean cheat by a court and released unconditionally. And separation from her children is very traumatic for female prisoners. Hence rescuing women from jails must be given top priority.”, she explains. “Aparajita is well educated; a graduate; and knows prison life inside out. Who else can take up cudgels on behalf of prisoners better than her?”, said B.D. Sharma, retired Indian Police Service officer, an advisor to the Prison Department.
What a brave woman. Striving to get justice for victims rotting in jails. Her life, that became barren at the right age, has found its purpose in rescuing women like her. We wish that her sons too, come to know about what their mother truly is and may they smile at her one day.
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