LUCKNOW, India (AFP) – Prison authorities in India have released the country's oldest inmate, 108-year-old Brij Bihari Pandey, who was convicted of a murder he committed at the age of 84, officials said Saturday.
Pandey, a Hindu priest, was freed on Friday by a court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on humanitarian grounds as prison officials were finding it difficult to provide regular medical treatment to the "oldest prisoner in the history of Indian prisons."
"It was getting difficult to take care of a 108-year-old prisoner. We moved an application for his release and the court accepted it," said S.K. Sharma, superintendent of Gorakhpur Jail, 300 kilometres (190 miles) from the state capital Lucknow.
Sharma said the release was based on humanitarian grounds.
At the ripe old age of 84, Pandey along with 15 others, many of them his nephews and family members, killed four people over the inheritance of a Hindu religious institution.
In 2009, he was convicted and sent to Gorakhpur Jail but the weak and infirm centenarian convict had to be frequently rushed to hospital and was mostly bed-ridden.
Pandey expressed delight over his release Friday by smiling and giving a warm hug to his fellow inmates, who in turn garlanded him.
Jail officials said he received the garland with a broad smile and said, "God is great. Thank you."