Inmates practise painting at Dhanbad divisional jail on Tuesday. Picture by Gautam Dey
Independence Day promises to be different in Dhanbad Divisional Jail this year.
A portrait painting competition, a volleyball match and a performance by comedian Raju Srivastava are on the cards, and the 1,100 odd inmates of the prison can barely contain their excitement.
The celebrations will begin with the portrait contest on August 13. Seventeen male prisoners who have been attending art classes on the premises will vie against each other.
We will allot four to five options from among nationalists like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Sashtri and Maulana Azad to the participants who will get four to five hours to finish their work, said jail superintendent Hamid Akhtar.
A panel of experts will judge the paintings and the results will be announced on August 14 while the winners would be feted on August 15. A cup or shield would be awarded to the winners as well as a certificate, said Akhtar.
Notably, the 17 inmates are being taught art by murder accused and prisoner Rajesh Kumar Sao. The classes are held daily between 1pm and 3pm.
According to Akhtar, plans are afoot to organise similar training for women inmates by hiring professional teachers from outside.
The friendly volleyball match between policemen and inmates would be held on the jail campus on August 14 or 15. As the jail adalat is scheduled for August 15, we will decide the date of the match after finalising the schedule of the adalat, said Akhtar, adding that more than 20 inmates are at present practising for the match. Former volleyball player T.B. Singh, who is at present lodged in the jail, is the one training the enthusiasts.
Akhtar said as veteran comedian Raju Srivastava is scheduled to visit Dhanbad on Independence Day for a programme being organised by the district police, efforts were on to bring him to the jail for half an hour so that he could entertain the prisoners.
The jail super added that a function to mark three years of organising meditation sessions for inmates would also be held. More than 100 inmates take part in the sessions conducted by Brahmkumaris.
We will have other regular programmes like flag hoisting and cultural shows on the campus on Independence Day, said Akhtar.