Mangalore prison has six children of lesser god

Mangalore prison has six children of lesser god

They dream of bright future in dismal cells of the jail

Little hands toiling in mud, twigs, paper boats, broken toys, chipped knees, fights with siblings etc are some of the obvious gifts of childhood, which remain as memories with every individual.

But can one imagine childhood cut off from all these experiences, confined to barracks of a prison, unfortunately for the crime the innocent hands have not committed.

Mangalore Sub-Jail has six kids who have been put behind the bars for mistake they have not done. Unfortunately, these kids are not even in a position to understand the reason why they have been given the life that they have been leading.

One of them is just three and half years old. This boy child has been ironically named ‘Krishna’ and sharing one big co-incidence with Lord Krishna is that even this Krishna was born in the jail!

When Krishna’s parents were sent to the jail in connection to a murder case in Puttur, Krishna was in his mother’s womb. While his parents are still undertrials here, on his birth, the jail officials named him Krishna and have been taking care of him since then. Unlike other kids, who would be pampered and mollycoddled on birth, little Krishna only had the sight of the dark barracks and the cell to see on opening his eyes.

Krishna spends his days in the women’s cell along with his mother and 19 other inmates. While he learns and tries to put couple of words together, he has become the reason for all the inmates to smile. 

Probably, now, Krishna has no complaints because apart from the grown ups, he has the company of five other kids like him, who have entered the portals of the district jail without knowing the reason.

Five kids

There are four kids from ‘Hakki Pikki’ community in age group of three to four years who have come to the jail, along with their parents who are facing charges of theft. However, these kids are comparatively fortunate because there are all possibilities of the accused getting bail soon.

Apart from this, there is one more kid which is just a year old, spending days in jail because his mother is facing murder charges.

The jail officials say that the kids are having merry time playing with one another. “It is sad to see these kids spend their most crucial phase of life in jail, amidst criminals and accused. But, according to rules, every child will have to be kept with the mother till six years. Krishna and others like him have no choice and neither does the department have any choice,” says Jailer P S Ambekar adding that the jail takes care of the nutritional needs of the children without fail.

He says that the kids are given half litre milk, bread, fruits and nutritious food per day to ensure good health. 

Child Welfare Committee Chairperson and Advocate Asha Nayak said that providing conducive environment for the overall development of the child in the prison is a must. Hence it is imperative to keep the child with the mother under any circumstance. However, she points that though a child and mother should be given clean, hygienic surrounding, separate cell, cradle and several other facilities. During her recent visit to the jail, she could not see any of such facilities.

“No check ups are conducted to ensure good health of the child,” she said raising apprehension over the impact of the surrounding on the child where most of the people have come from difficult and tormented backgrounds. Though the kids are forced to live a life of confinement for no mistake of theirs, at least authorities should ensure better condition of living for these kids who are dreaming of bright future in dismal cells of the jail.