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I was one of the many who wrote about the injustice meted out to Lakshmana, a Bangalore-based software engineer in November 2007. Under “Mistaken Identity”, I wrote about this sad incident where he was mistaken for some one else and punished for a crime he did not commit.

He was wrongly arrested by the police and made to serve a prison term of 50 days in Pune’s notorious Yerawada jail. Not being a famous film star like Sanjay Dutt, a politician or an underworld don, he did not get privileged treatment there. One can imagine the torment he went through.

The Times of India reports he was beaten with lathis and made to use one bowl to both eat and for the toilet. All for some one else’s fault!.

He has now decided to sue the telecom giant, Bharti Airtel and the concerned Government authorities for Rs. 20 crores in damages. Mistakes do take place but in such sensitive cases, should not organizations take extra care? After all, it involves some one’s life. The blame game will go on. Bharti claims the police asked for wrong information and got it. The police say Bharti gave them wrong information. Perhaps the truth will never be known.

Nothing can make up for the humiliation and hardship Lakshmana and his family must have gone through. I hope the public will not forget this case in a hurry. I hope the National Human Rights Commission will play its part.

Let’s hope the swell of public indignation will make sure that salutary measures are taken to ensure that such cases are not repeated ever again-not even by mistake.

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