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Brush with Bapu behind bars in Dhanbad

- Freedom to express is I-Day mantra for all, from convicts to singers

Patriotism no bar, Dhanbad divisional jail inmates proved at a painting contest on Monday.

Organised by prison authorities as a part of Independence Day celebrations, 15 inmates, including those convicted in murder and dowry cases such as Rajesh Sao, Rajesh Mali and Santosh Kumar tried to draw portraits of Mahatma Gandhi.

The unique event was held in two shifts — from noon to 2pm and from 3pm to 5pm.

“The first shift saw 11 participants, while the second, four. We hosted the contest in two shifts as some had to appear in court,” said jail superintendent Hamid Akhtar.

In earlier years, convicts were given a choice between different freedom fighters. “But it made judging difficult. It is clearer to see who is most talented when all contestants draw the same person, which is why we chose only Bapu this year,” said jailer Satyendra Chaudhary.

Chart paper, brushes, paints and pencils were given to convicts by the jail administration. “We want to give convicts a creative-cum-patriotic platform. Results will be out by August 14 evening after a panel of jail officials judges the entries,” Akhtar said.

All 15 participants will get a medal. The winner and runner-up will each get a shield.

They will all be feted on August 15 at an I-Day function on jail campus from 2pm.

Convicts Mona Pasi, Raja Ram, Vijay Rajak, Vimal Gorain, Vishnu Kumar, Ravi Hansda, Sanjay Gorain, Sunil Vishwakarma, Sohail Ansari, Rajiv Gandhi, Mantu Doshi, Nimai Modi, Bhola Kumar, Dharmendra Pandey and Rajesh Sao have shown aptitude for painting. “We hold painting classes on jail premises from 3pm to 5pm on all days except Sunday,” said Akhtar.

Those inclined towards sports can take part in the volleyball match on August 14. Some will also sing during the I-Day cultural show.