KOLKATA: Durga Prasad Timsina had been languishing as an undertrial for 41 years at the Dum Dum Correctional Home in Kolkata but the developments of the last two weeks have given him a new life.
Not only did the Calcutta HC order his release on Wednesday, Timsina made it back home to Nepal to meet his mother, a reunion made possible by a sympathetic prison inmate, some detective work by a group of Ham radio operators in two countries and a lucky break.
Now 72, Timsina, who was certified mentally unfit to stand trial for the murder that he had been accused of, could barely hold back his tears as he fed his mother some rasgulla as they sat together in their home in Lumbak village, east Nepal, while his brother Prakash Chandra looked on.
Timsina, a school teacher, had last seen his mother in 1980 when he announced his intention to leave home and join the Indian army in Darjeeling. According to court records, the man who promised him the job embroiled him in a murder case. He has been in various prisons since then and may have continued to spend his life in detention but for a prison inmate who learnt of his condition.
Out on parole, the prison inmate discussed Timsina’s pitiful condition with a friend who was a Ham radio operator. The friend discussed this with his colleague and lawyer Hirak Sinha, who was vice-president of the West Bengal Radio Club (Amateur Club). The club then verified Timsina’s case by looking at his case history, medical records and meeting him. Communication was hard as Timsina’s mental age was that of a 10-year-old. “He was only able to write down three words in Nepali which turned out to be the name of his mother, his school and one more word that we could not identify, ”Ambarish Nag Biswas, club secretary said.
The group got in touch with their counterparts in Nepal. Biswas said, “Some Nepal Ham members started looking for the school only to find that it had been flattened in the recent earthquake.” But as luck would have it, they found Timsina’s cousin. The group trekked for a whole day to reach the remote village of Lumbak, finally bringing to close the mystery of where Timsina belonged. After finding out that her son was alive, Timsina’s mother approached the Nepal consulate and pleaded for his release, which finally happened last week.
On March 21, when Timsina reached Lumbak the huge crowd surprised him. “He looked a bit bewildered to see so many people.” We fed him some rasgulla and sent some for his mother, ”Biswas said. The Nepal and West Bengal Ham members have started a fundraiser to help him get back on his feet.