After remaining behind bars for nearly four months, civil rights activist Binayak Sen was released on Monday evening from the Chattisgarh's central prison where he is serving a life sentence, three days after the Supreme Court granted him bail.
The 61-year-old old medical doctor, who was sentenced to life by a local court on charges of sedition and links with Maoists, was reunited with his family amid emotional and poignant scenes, as his two daughters -- Aparajita and Pranhita --jumped on to him and were locked in a tight embrace.
Sen was also hugged and kissed by his mother Anusuya who said he looked "fine."
Hours before he walked free out of his cell in the Raipur prison, Additional District and Sessions Judge BP Verma directed Sen to surrender his passport as a bail condition in line with the Supreme Court order and that he be released on a personal bond and surety of Rs 50,000 each.
Verma also ordered Sen not to leave the country and appear in the high court during hearings as and when required.
Sen has been lodged in the prison since December 24 when he was convicted and sentenced to life.
Clad in his trademark kurta-pyjama, Sen smiled and waved to hundreds of his supporters who had gathered in front of the prison where hordes of newsmen and photographes jostled with each other to get a vantage point. Chaos prevailed with his supporters and mediamen trying to get close to him.
"I am very very happy today. I wish everybody should be happy as I am this evening. We just hugged each other. I kissed him," Anusuya said.
Anusuya said her son smiled and said nothing but looked fine.
"He looked fine. He looked very happy. He smiled. He said nothing. We were emotionally spellbound. We couldn't say anything. Today is a special day," she added.
Verma's direction on Monday came after Sen's counsel Mahendra Dubey submitted that the apex court order had left it to the court here to impose the conditions for Sen's release on bail.
"We have struggled for long. We will continue to work for the tribals," Sen's wife Ilina, who was present in the court along with their daughter and other activists, said.
Sen's life sentence had triggered an outcry both within and outside the country.
The Supreme Court had used strong words on Friday in rubbishing the grounds for his conviction. "No case of sedition is made out against him and the evidence is baseless," said the bail order of judges H S Bedi and C K Prasad.
"Distribution and circulation and even possession of (Maoist ideology and propaganda material) does not amount to sedition," the court said.
"Even in the worst case scenario, that he (Sen) was in possession of these documents, does not make him guilty of sedition," it had said.