Dr Aparna Purohit, wife of Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit, spoke to The Sunday Guardian exclusively after the release of Colonel Purohit.

Q: Lt Col Purohit is finally home. How have these nine years affected your life?

A: For the past almost nine years, not just me, but the whole family has suffered emotional loss, especially the children. Taking care of the children all alone is not something that an Army officer’s wife is not used to, but at least the husband is accessible and in communication in some way or the other. But all these years, it was painful to live with the label of a terrorist. Honour is all that matters to the uniform. I have fought for his honour. These years have taught me a lot of patience and made me a stronger person that I never knew existed in me. The children have been the worst sufferers in this ordeal. They have been raised without a father. My absence from home for the court cases added to their agony. I ran from pillar to post to prove his innocence. After his arrest, we actually got into shock and did not believe that he has been arrested on a terror charge. But later I decided that come what may, I will not take injustice lying down and I will prove his innocence.

Q: A newspaper, which quoted you, has carried a story in which you have allegedly told a military probe that your husband “had deep hatred for Islam”. Did you make these observations?

A: This is an absolute lie. I think his Court of Inquiry papers are a good enough document to show what kind of a person he has been and also all his ACRs, written by his Commanding Officers, till 2008 speak in detail about him and his work. I do not want to even clarify such lies and concocted stories.

Q: A section in the intelligentsia is saying that but for the BJP government at the Centre, Lt Col Purohit would not have got his bail. How will you respond to these allegations?

A: The BJP government has been in power since 2014 and his bail has been granted in 2017. If it was due to the BJP, he should have got bail much earlier. The fact is that he was granted bail only after the Supreme Court decided to look into his Court of Inquiry papers. So, rather than pointing fingers and making the case more political than the case already is, I request the people to accept the Supreme Court decision graciously.

Q: In our last interaction, you had said that the Ministry of Defence—after much pressure from the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar—gave relevant documents that were needed for effectively defending Lt Col Purohit in the case. How much did these documents help in the case?

A: The Court of Inquiry documents were the most important documents for his bail and we have struggled to get these very papers from the Army for a very long time. After a lot of relentless requests, the Defence Minister did release all the papers connected to my husband. This was the biggest relief for him—all that he was claiming in court was there in black and white in the form of statements of various Army officers.

Q: Do you think if these documents were given to you earlier, your husband would have been out of prison much earlier?

A: Yes, definitely he would have been out on bail much earlier.

Q: Do you feel you have got justice? Do you seek action against those who allegedly trapped your husband, as you had told me last time, in this conspiracy?

A: Justice has yet to come our way; it will happen only with acquittal from the ongoing case, and so we have a long way to go. As far as seeking action against the wrongdoers is concerned, we have never even given it a thought as this struggle itself has been a lengthy one. Besides, what matters is that he should be with his children and help to make them better individuals.

Q. How is Lt Col Purohit now? How have these nine years changed him?

A: He has maintained himself and preserved his sanity by exercising and spending time in reading. Both of us realised the importance of the family and patience. He now wants to spend time with his children and try to cope with the lost time with them and our entire family and friends.


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