Last month court acquitted him and now, as he stands as a free man, Umakant Mishra looks back at his life which was ruined by the society and the law, for no fault of his. A Times of India report narrates the postman's life.
Umakant worked in a post-office in Harjinder Nagar, Kanpur, 30 years ago. Senior officials at the post office gave Mishra Rs 697.60 in cash to distribute as money-order.
Of the total Rs 697.60, Umakant distributed Rs 300 and the rest he claimed to have returned to higher officials. But the seniors accused him of stealing Rs 57.60 and lodged an FIR against him on July 13, 1984..
He was promptly suspended and a case was booked against him for criminal breach of trust.
In the following 29 years, Umakant attended nearly 350 hearings to prove himself innocent. The final judgment was delivered by a metropolitan magistrate on November 25, 2013.
Umakant wept when he was approached for an interview, said Times of India.
Struggling to find words, Umakant said, "I retired three years ago and remained suspended for nearly 26 years. I have no idea what to say or do."
His wife Geeta said, "I am relieved and happy with the verdict, but if we'd got justice at the right time, our children's career wouldn't have got ruined. We lived with the stigma and financial trouble for so long that our future is destroyed."
"This is apathy at its worst. We lost everything, borrowed money for our livelihood, children's education and marriage," she said. "Without regular income, we had trouble arranging for the education and marriage of our children. We sought donation to marry off our two daughters. Since we could not educate our children, our son Ganga has an insecure job", she said.