Jailbirds' jaunt from murder to music

Jailbirds' jaunt from murder to music

Hands that smelt blood once now play musical instruments with ease and comfort.

Believe it or not, the hands that smelt blood once now play musical instruments with ease and comfort.

Some months ago, the Lucknow jail (where these convicts are serving their sentences) administration had decided to set up a band party of prisoners after giving them professional training.

“It has given us an opportunity to reform ourselves spiritually,” says Raj Kumar Rastogi of Sitapur district who has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charge of murder.

The other members of the band — Tahir, Ram Bali, Mahesh, Chote Yadav, Suresh, Ashok Mishra and Santhosh — are convicts under Section 302 of the IPC.
The band members have been professionally trained by an expert, and they undertake rigorous practice to fine-tune their skills, according to jail officials.
“Anyone could book the band for wedding functions and other occasions by paying a fee, which is Rs 1,200 per hour besides transportation expenses,” said senior jail superintendent V K Jain.

He said about half the money received from bookings would be spent on buying musical instruments and costumes, while the rest was for providing other facilities to the members.

According to officials, the band members proceed to the functions under stringent security in a jail vehicle.

“It is not only an attempt to reform these die-hards but also to give them an opportunity to earn their livelihood once they are out of jail,” they said.
Colourful clothes and polished shoes make the band look like any other renowned band parties, and it is almost impossible to say that the members are criminals.

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