Many aged prisoners who have been suffering for years in different jails of Bihar can look forward to freedom, thanks to the state's humanitarian concerns and its bid to decongest overcrowded prisons.
At least 700 prisoners over 60 years of age imprisoned for petty crimes will be released on Aug 15 or Oct 2 this year.
"Prisoners in the 60-plus to 80-plus category who have been in jail for years due to slow or delayed trials in courts will be freed," said a home department official in Patna. <b1>
The department has identified aged prisoners in the district jails of Gopalganj, Bhojpur, Siwan, Motihari, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar promised last year that aged prisoners would be released.
The government has also initiated a move to approach courts to clear the release formalities of such prisoners. "The government will file an appeal for their release," the official added.
Prison authorities said many prisoners were too aged to walk or eat properly and too weak to even do their daily chores.
Sources in the state prison department on Monday said there were 300 prisoners over 70 years of age, 400 over 65 years and 900 over 60 years.
There are 56 prisons, including six central ones, in the state in which 44,000 prisoners are lodged against a capacity of 20,000.