WB prisons prepare for pooja revelry

 Prisons in West Bengal are preparing for the forthcoming Durga Pooja, as jail authorities, in a one-off move, have decided to allow inmates of the correctional centres to celebrate the festival.

Poojas, cultural programmes and various competitions would enliven the prisons during the festival, as the different prisons would vie for the most well-organised event of the season.

“We want to see the inmates—both convicts and under trials—happy during the Pooja days. They’ll be involved in creativity and entertainment and the central jails are competing to see who can organise the best Pooja,” Inspector General of Prisons, Ranvir Kumar told Deccan Herald.

The Dum Dum Central Correctional Home authorities have planned a series of entertainment programmes during the four days of the Poojas—Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami and Dashami—in which the inmates will be drowned in revelry.

The inmates of the Dum Dum Central Correctional Home have formed a live band, “Muktoberi,” which will be performing at Dashami during the immersion of the idols.
 “We have also planned for a sit-and-draw competition among the inmates and we are getting a huge response,” a senior official at the Correctional Home said.

At Alipore Central Correctional Home a convict—Chandan Chanda—is carving the image of goddess Durga. The authorities are giving full support by bringing raw materials like hay, bamboo, mud and colours from outside.

“He has planned for a theme which is unique. The goddess is portrayed as sitting on ‘Kailash’ the abode of Lord Shiva. The other inmates are also helping him a lot,” an official said.

On Saptami, the first day of the pooja, a section of the convicts at the Alipore jail will stage a drama, titled “Thikana Paschimbanga (Address West Bengal).”

“The rehearsals are in full swing and the inmates are taking active initiative in the programme. All are eager to participate in the drama but we have a limited scope and so we have told the other inmates to become the audience,” an official said.

 According to an official, the jail authorities have also planned for special Bengali cuisines during the pooja days to give the inmates a break from the regular menu.

The jails will also bring dhakis and purohits to do the rituals, though they may have to share the prison premises with the inmates.

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