UP: Shahjahanpur jail inmates look for new life through education, embroidery

Of the 1,500 jail inmates, including 58 women, more than 250 study regularly.

PTIUpdated: Sunday, November 13, 2022, 11:44 AM IST
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Shahjahanpur: Thirty-year-old murder convict Manoj, lodged in the district jail here, has secured 84 per cent marks in his class 10 board exam and is gearing to better that score in class 12.

Sentenced to death by a lower court in 2014 for killing a six-year-old, education has given him a semblance of normalcy in the otherwise grim prison scenario.

Studies have also given Manoj a slim hope that the higher court might somehow show mercy on him, Jail Superintendent Mijaji Lal said.

"He is disturbed over the murderer tag attached to his name and wants to wash it off through studies and earn a new identity for himself," Lal told PTI.

Of the 1,500 jail inmates, including 58 women, more than 250 study regularly. Six jail inmates are attending diploma courses through Indira Gandhi National Open University so that they earn a livelihood once they return to the mainstream of society.

For many of the inmates, getting confined in the prison gave them a chance to learn to read and write which they never thought of in the outside world.

Not just education, the district jail authorities have arranged yoga classes for the inmates, ayurvedic plants are being grown on the premises to deal with minor ailments while women prisoners are being trained in Shahjahanpur's famed zardozi embroidery work.

There is a concerted effort to make the illiterate learn to read and write. Around 100 prisoners have achieved this goal while 100 others are studying from class 5 to class 10.

Lal said classes are held from 9 am to 11 am for which a female and a male teacher from the Basic Education Department have been made available on his demand.

Nirupama Mahant, the headmistress of the government school who is jailed for some money transaction issue, helps the women prisoners in their studies. Lending a supporting hand in this task is Kamaraj Arya, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Himself M.Sc B.Ed, he teaches the prisoners up to intermediate classes.

About training women inmates in embroidery work, Lal said once they learn the intricacies, the women will be able to start earning through their work.

The jail superintendent there are about 50 other men and women prisoners who are involved in sewing and embroidery work and earning Rs 40 daily.

Komal (25) is serving a life sentence for murder while her husband is in Bareilly jail. She earns Rs 1,200 per month through sewing work in the jail.

Another woman prisoner Raman (27), serving a life sentence for murdering her husband, was beaming with joy as she got the chance to put tilak on the jail superintendent this 'Bhai Dooj'.

"I fed him sweets and put tilak on his forehead. He gave me a new suit as a gift," she said while showing her new suit.

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