Just One Bowl For Lakshmana Kailash

The Times of India reports:

A Bangalore-based software engineer, Lakshmana Kailash K, who was wrongly jailed for 50 days last year by the Pune police cyber cell, has demanded Rs 20 crore in damages and slapped a legal notice on telecom giant Bharti Airtel, principal secretary (Home) Maharashtra government and assistant commissioner of police (financial & cyber crime unit), Pune police.

Lakshmana had been falsely accused of an internet crime – posting unseemly pictures of Chattrapati Shivaji on the web – and was arrested based on the internet protocol address provided by his internet service provider, Bharti. As it turned out, the IP address was not his.

But by the time the police confirmed this and acted on it, he had already spent 50 harrowing days at the Yerwada Jail with hardened criminals, had tasted lathi beatings and was made to use one bowl to both eat and for the toilet.

An earlier report mentions that Lakshmana was released “three weeks after the cops claimed to have nabbed the ‘real culprits’.”

There are two things that I find appalling here. One, obviously, that the wrong guy was locked up for so long. And two, that anyone should have to go to jail for what is either a juvenile prank or simply an exercise of free speech.

So here we all are correctly protesting what poor Lakshmana Kailash went through. But do even the so-called “real culprits” deserve to go to jail? Should giving offence really be a crime?

Previously: Don’t Insult Pasta.

Update (January 16): Raj writes in:

And should even hardened criminals have to taste lathi beatings and be made to use one bowl to both eat and for the toilet?

Good point!