South Asia

India's oldest inmate Brij Bihari Pandey freed at 108

Brij Bihari Pandey carried out of jail by relatives
Image caption Brij Bihari Pandey took revenge on a rival who was made chief priest of a temple

A convicted murderer, who was India's oldest inmate, has been released from prison at the age of 108.

Brij Bihari Pandey, a Hindu priest, was serving a life sentence for the murder of four people in 1987, when he was 84.

Officials at Gorakhpur jail in Uttar Pradesh state say Mr Bihari, who requires regular hospital visits, was freed on humanitarian grounds.

As he is unable to walk, relatives carried him from prison to a waiting car.

"It was getting difficult to take care of a 108-year-old prisoner," said jail Supt SK Sharma.

"We moved an application for his release and the court accepted it."

In 1987, Mr Bihari and 15 others - many of them his nephews and family members - killed four people over the appointment of a rival as chief priest of a Hindu temple.

After a trial lasting more than two decades he was sentenced in 2009 but had to be frequently rushed to hospital and was mostly bed-ridden.

As he was carried from the jail, Mr Bihari hugged fellow inmates, who placed a garland of flowers on him.

Prison officials said he received the garland with a broad smile and said: "God is great. Thank you."