Anil Futane — the husband of tribal schoolteacher Soni Sori, who was arrested on the charge of aiding Maoists — died on Friday of some undiagnosed neurological condition that paralysed him from waist down. “Wish he was not married at all … perhaps he would have survived longer,” said a friend of Mr. Futane, on condition of anonymity. Mr Futane — who used to put his dilapidated Bolero on rent to run a household of eight — passed away in Gidam town in Dantewada. Mr. Futane was arrested for allegedly planning and executing an attack on local Congress leader Awdesh Gautam, a few months before Ms. Sori was.
“We did not know about his [Futane’s] fault, even long after his arrest, till finally one of our friends in district police explained it to us,” one of Mr. Futane’s relatives said. Mr Futane’s “problem,” his friend felt, was his wife . “If he was not Soni’s husband, perhaps he would not have undergone so much pressure … would have survived longer,” said Mr. Futane’s friend.
Mr. Futane, said lawyer K.K. Dubey, “ was picked up in July 2010 for masterminding an attack about which he had no clue.” Fifteen people were accused in the Awdesh Gautam case, which was a “completely concocted” allegation, Mr Dubey feels.
“Finally, nothing was proved in the court and after being in jail for nearly three years he came out on May 1, 2013,” Mr. Dubey said. The key issues factored into the acquittal of all the accused, including Mr. Futane, was “non availability of witness,” and “weapons of the deceased [killed during the attack on Awdesh Gautam] were not recovered from the accused,” the judge said.
A medium build man, Mr. Futane, never looked very sick, but close to his release from jail, his thigh muscles started giving up and around the time he was released he was paralysed from waist down.
A few months after her husband’s arrest, Ms. Sori was picked up by the police and allegedly tortured in custody. The couples’ three children, two daughters and one son, were sent to live with Ms. Sori’s father in Dantewada. “Thus the family was slowly divided and ruined,” said a social activist in Dantewada.
Mr. Futane’s case, like those of other tribal people, did not receive any attention from media or civil society. “It is sad that his case got no attention from anyone even after he was paralysed,” the superintendent of Jagdalpur jail, Rajendra Gaikwad, once told this correspondent soon after Mr Futane’s release
On Friday, Ms. Sori approached Dantewada District court for a limited period bail to perform her husband’s last rites. But her request was denied by sessions judge Anita Dehriya, who had acquitted Mr. Futane three months back.