In 2012, The Indian Express reported the tragic imprisonment of a Bangladeshi man named Badol Khalek Farazi languishing in Tihar Jail as an undertrial prisoner for a crime he never committed. In fact, the crime that he was accused of committing occurred when Farazi was a mere student in Bangladesh. Unfortunately back then this article could not prove to be worthy enough to shake the conscience of our nation towards the plight of a man trapped in an alien environment for no fault of his.
Rahul Kapoor, a social worker first met Badol Farazi in the year 2016 when he went to Tihar Jail No. 3 to counsel prisoners and work on their reformation and rehabilitation programs as part of his fieldwork. He was deeply moved by Farazi’s story and went on to organize a march at India Gate for the same unfortunate Bangladeshi man who has been in jail for the last 10 years.
When Badol Farazi first came to the Jail he could neither speak English nor Hindi. This language barrier is one of the major reasons that when he was arrested from the Benapole Immigration check-post in 2008 on charges of murder, he could not tell the relevant authorities that he was not the person they were looking for. Since Badol Farazi could not communicate his innocence to the officials, the flaws in our criminal justice system destroyed the most crucial years of his life.
He was falsely implicated in the murder of an elderly woman in Delhi. The crime was actually committed by her domestic help named “Badal Singh” instead of whom the person in question “Badol Farazi” was arrested. Badol Farazi was convicted by the sessions court in Saket, New Delhi under section 302 on charges of murder on August 7, 2015. The judgment was later validated by the High Court and he is currently serving life imprisonment in Tihar Jail. He even tried filing a petition in the Supreme Court but it was dismissed and his sentence was upheld.
Badol Farazi has come a long way since 2008. He has completed his class 8th, 10th, 12th and graduation studies, all from inside the Jail premises through National Institute of Open Schooling and IGNOU programme facilities available in Tihar Jail. Today, he speaks fluent English and in fact, he is so good at it now that he was even certified by the Teach India Campaign, which is an initiative started by Times of India for doing exceptionally well in his English speaking course.
He had been tirelessly working inside the Tihar Jail and even managed the IGNOU centre in Tihar Jail Number 3 until recently when he was shifted to the newly opened Mandoli Jail in Delhi where he still works as a Jail Seva Daar.
Badol Farazi, in the last ten years, has maintained that he is innocent and was not even present in India at the time of the murder. All his fellow prisoners and Jail authorities have confirmed that he has been sticking to one single story and they believe that there is a strong possibility that he is speaking the truth. He has even managed to create a good impression amongst the Jail authorities as they have always been praising his conduct and good behaviour.
In the year, 2012, the High Commission of Bangladesh wrote several letters to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, requesting the release of Mr Badol Farazi and claiming his innocence with strong pieces of evidence attached in his favour. However, all their efforts and written communications fell on deaf ears as Badol Farazi is still trapped in prison where he surely keeps on revisiting that one moment in his life where he made the choice to come to India in order to see the Taj Mahal and Ajmer Shareef Dargah as a young boy on a valid passport after fulfilling all diplomatic and legal procedures. Today he desperately wishes that he had never made that choice.
During the last ten years, Farazi has gone through a lot. He even lost his father back home in Bangladesh, which left his lonely mother awaiting his return. It is this love and anticipation of a helpless mother for her son that motivated Rahul Kapoor to start working on Badol Farazi’s release on grounds of exceptional reformation and good conduct in Jail.
Rahul Kapoor is running a relentless campaign at the ground level as well as on social media since the last two and a half years to get justice and freedom for Badol Farazi. He is taking one step at a time as a result of which today more than two thousand people have signed his petition on change.org for Badol Farazi’s release and over a thousand people have tweeted Sushma Swaraj regarding the same. He has also met several Members of Parliament and tried to convey his message to the Ministry of External Affairs, India through them.
He has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and is looking forward towards meeting them soon and discussing Badol Farazi’s release on grounds of his exceptional reformation in jail.
Badol Farazi has applied for repatriation in a final and desperate attempt to go back to Bangladesh and Rahul Kapoor is currently working towards expediting this process of his repatriation.
Rahul Kapoor has also spoken to Mr Satish Gupta who is the Personal Secretary of Ms. Sushma Swaraj regarding Badol Farazi’s case and has received a positive response and assurance from Ms. Sirpriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary (Bangladesh division), Ministry of External Affairs, India suggesting that the ministry sympathizes with Badol Farazi and will do everything they can to expedite his repatriation process and send him back to Bangladesh.