Roshni: A Diwali gift from behind the bars!

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Jammu, Nov 8 (UNI) Could anything be more valuable during the 'festival of lights' than the illumination from the darkest place on earth -- the 'Jail'? Here's a small group of prisoners, who will be a part of Diwali celebrations at many houses through Roshni -- the candles -- they have manufactured behind the bars.

''Cheap and best'', these candles are made by the inmates serving sentence in the Jammu District Jail.

A murder convict sentenced to 14-years-rigorous-imprisonment, Karanjit Singh is all smiles on Diwali as he is the person training and leading a unit of inmates manufacturing colourful 'Roshni' candles.

''It is not merely manufacturing candles for the jail inmates, but despite living away from our homes in the darkest zone, we feel happy when the 'Roshni' enlightens thousands of houses in Jammu and Kashmir as a mark of affection and celebrations,'' he said at an interaction with UNI.

Karanjit had learnt the art of manufacturing candles in Vocational Training Workshop inside the jail three years back and today he is the in-charge of the 'Roshni' manufacturing unit.

''When I came here I was quite depressed and alone but with the passage of the time I started feeling it (Jail) like home.

''And now, as I remain occupied with the manufacturing of candles, I hardly miss my home,'' he said, asserting that it is because all the inmates jointly celebrate all the festivals with peace and love in the jail.

The 'Roshni' candles, introduced under the title 'Darkness to Light' in 2004, generate a good earning out of sale every year.

In 2005, it had earned the Jammu District Jail Rs 2.5 lakh which jumped up to Rs three lakh in previous year, Superintendent of District Jail Rajni Sehgal said.

The candles manufacturing, Ms Sehgal said were not only the part of punishment for prisoners but a treatment for reformation.

''Prisoners working in the jail get Rs 24 a day as wage, which is divided into three parts -- one for the victim of crime done by the inmate, one for the inmate and one goes to the state exchequer,'' she said.

On the festival celebrations in the jail, Ms Sehgal said, ''Many former prisoners also visit here on special occasion to rejoice with the inmates''.


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