“I am happy and I feel vindicated.” This is how microbiologist Khaleel Chisti reacted to his acquittal by the Supreme Court of murder charge on Wednesday.

Speaking to The Hindu on the Supreme Court lawns, Dr. Chisti, sitting in a wheelchair, said: “I first thanked God on hearing the judgment. It is an honest and very good decision. Though the legal process is delayed, I and my family are very happy…”

Dr. Chisti, who has a son, five daughters with grandsons, granddaughters and great-granddaughters, was in tears when the news that he was now a free man came.

“I am an educated person. It is very difficult to bring about changes in legal procedure that has been going on. I have tolerated it in the hope that finally truth will prevail. I have not spoken a single word during the entire proceedings. Whatever statement I made initially proved to be correct… and I stand vindicated by the judgment,” he said.

Asked whether he regretted the inordinate delay, he said: “I don’t regret. The final judgment has come and [it] is a sensible judgment. The fact that I returned to India [and] executed the bond shows I am a law-abiding person.”

“When I was granted bail and went back home, I could not sleep well because the judgment was hanging on my head. But now after the judgment, I will have a peaceful sleep,” he said.

Asked whether the judgment would help to improve relations between India and Pakistan, he said it was for the political leadership to decide. On Sarabjit Singh’s mercy petition, he said the two cases were different. While his was a case of murder, Sarabjit Singh’s related to national security; hence both could not be compared.

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