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The Conviction that "Shouldn't" Have Happened

The case against Puja and Yellama was a difficult one. For one, it had been a struggle to get Lali to testify because she had to travel a long distance and the court continually postponed the hearings. But unlike most girls, Lali had been eager to tell the judge what the two accused had done to her. She was especially angry at Yellama, a distant relative from her village who she felt needed to be punished. She did finally get her day in court and gave a powerful testimony.

After this, Freedom Firm Senior Investigator Shyam encountered severe opposition while giving his testimony. Like many cases, the police had written many things into the statements which were blatantly false. Shyam wanted to tell the true story of what had happened during the raid and rescue, but knew this would derail the case since the truth did not match the police report. When Shyam finally did testify, the Public Prosecutor declared him hostile! Still, he held to his convictions and told the truth.

Then there was Jayavanti, the second victim. She had been sent back to a rehabilitation home in West Bengal. We thought the case was a loss due to Shyam’s testimony and therefore decided not to disturb her. But much to our surprise, the Thane Police brought Jayavanti back from West Bengal on their own initiative. She testified in court very strongly in spite of the fact that the judge opened the court to the public and several local pimps were there to intimidate her.

Every case is worth the effort, even if the end result is an acquittal. But this one was sweet not only because of the strong stance all these witnesses took, but both brothel keepers were convicted! What a testimony to the power of the truth.


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