Life means just five years. At least in India, that is.

On the occasion of Independence Day on the 15th of this month, the Andhra Pradesh government wanted to release almost 1000 prisoners convicted of serious crimes and serving life sentences.

Prisoners become eligible to be released on remission after serving five years of their sentence.

Sateesh Galla, a Guntur-based advocate, filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the AP Government’s order, ‘which he said was an insult to the feelings of the victims of the crimes’.

Though the Supreme Court Bench refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to release 958 prisoners, Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy decided to wait until the Supreme Court takes a decision on the petition.

The last time the Andhra Pradesh Government had released prisoners on remission was in 2004. One of the prisoners released thus was Mujeeb Ahmed, who was sentenced to life in 1994 and released on special remission in 2004.

‘Mujeeb, who barged into the house of ASP Krishna Prasad and shot him and a security guard dead on November 29, 1992, was convicted for intending to wage war against the country’, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

‘After his release on August 15, 2004, under the special remission programme, Mujeeb went underground.’

 A dossier prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and CID says he became an active member of the Hizbul-Mujahideen and ISI, and was part of the first terror cell in Andhra.

He was arrested again in December 2005. after he attempted to smuggle sophisticated arms from Kashmir to Hyderabad.

There was great opposition from the Police Department at the time of his release by the State government in 2004, a police official stated that ‘The Intelligence and CID should be consulted before releasing such persons, who are involved in anti-national activities’.

Yesterday, Mujib Ahmed was convicted by a Hyderabad court, on the charges of of sedition and collecting arms to wage war against the country. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Life imprisonment? In India that means five years, right?