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Son Born In Prison In India Frees His Mother After 19 Years
May 27, 2013
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19 years ago, Vijay Kumari was convicted of murder - a charge she denies to this day - in Kanpur, India.

After the trial, she was granted bail on appeal, but she couldn't afford to pay the 10,000 rupee ($180) charge.

With the money owing, and Kumari behind bars, her husband abandoned her, and no one else came to her aid. She was pregnant at the time.

Four months later, Kumari gave birth to a son, Kanhaiya. He lived in the prison for a while, but soon, his mother found a juvenile home that was willing to take him in.

"I sent him away when he got a bit older," she told the BBC. "It was hard but I was determined. Prison is no place for a young child."

But although she was able to secure help for her young son, she still had no way of paying for a lawyer to help with her case, or of posting bail.

kanhaiya-picture.jpgKumari spent almost two decades behind bars, all but forgotten by the outside world, with only a passport-sized photograph of her son to keep her company most of the time (that's the picture on the left).

Kanhaiya himself would visit every three months. He lived at various homes as he grew up, but he never lost sight of his mother.

"I would think of her and cry," he said. "She was in prison, all alone. No one else ever visited her. And my father turned his back on her."

Once he turned 18, Kanhaiya secured a job in a garment factory. He started saving money to get his mother out of prison.

Eventually, he saved enough money to hire a lawyer to argue his mother's case.

Earlier this month, Kumari was freed from prison, and judges in the case expressed shock at the "callous and careless" behaviour of the authorities.

The decision to free Kumari may lead to the discovery of others like her: the judges ordered a sweep of other prisons in the state to see if other people have remained behind bars for years in similar situations.

They plan to approach Kanhaiya's estranged father and demand their share of the family property.

But their main focus right now is just enjoying their time together now that Kumari is a free woman.



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