Pradeep Pattanayak

Abhagini Dang is working at a shop in Bolangir town, with no leave. Taking leave is something which she can’t afford. Because it is her salary of Rs 4,000 with which she makes her both ends meet and fight a legal battle to get her husband released from prison. 

Till a few months ago, Jaypal and Abhagini used to live a happy married life. In 2021, their dream of having a happy family went asunder as Jaypal was imprisoned for 20 years. 

What led to Jaypal ‘s imprisonment is no less heart touching than any Bollywood flick. 

Both Jaypal and Abhagini are the residents of Bilaspur village under Deogaon block in Bolangir district. As they grew up, they fell in love. 
It was when Abhagini was 16 years old, Jaypal took her to his house. Three days later, Abhagini had to return to her house as Jaypal’s family did not accept her as their daughter-in-law. 

However, Jaypal landed in trouble. Abhagini’s family members had lodged a complaint against Jaypal, accusing him of kidnapping their minor daughter. On the basis of the complaint, in 2016, he was arrested and sent to prison. 

Three years later, in 2019, he was released on bail. As Abhagini had become a major by then, they both left their respective houses and started a new life. They exchanged garlands in a temple and started living in a rented house, with both working to fulfil their wishes. 

But the destiny had something cruel in store for them. 

While they were living a happy married life, the kidnap case was still pending at the POCSO court. 

During when Jaypal was in jail, Abhagini’s family members had forced her to give a statement against Jaypal. She was then not aware of the fact that her statement could ruin her life. 

On the basis of her statement, the POCSO court sentenced him 20 years in prison. 

“We had married in a Shiva temple. Then the case was going on. We had also been visiting Bolangir to attend monthly dates. Even a petition was filed for compromise. All steps had also been taken for registry marriage. But everything went wrong for me,” said Abhagini, in a choked voice.

With the doors of her parents and in-laws have been closed for her, Abhagini is now staying a hostel and fighting a legal battle for her husband’s release from jail. 

According to advocates, no law can separate a wife from her husband if they want to live together. 

“If the accused and the victim want to live together, no law can come as a barrier. Then the case was registered under the POCSO Act and now they want to live together, they can raise the point in the appeal in the High Court,” observed senior advocate Pramod Mishra. 

She believes her struggle will bear fruit, her husband will be freed soon and they will again start living happily.  

Abhagini’s struggling story came to the fore after she was spotted at the Bolangir jail where she had gone to meet her husband.