Santa with a child (IANS)

Exclusive: It’s Season of Joy, Time to Celebrate in Prisons Too

By Merry Sam in Kottayam

People in the world are all set to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. While the joy of Christmas is spread all over the world, the season usually makes no difference in the life of people in the prisons. But, this time, it was a different experience for the prisoners at Kottayam District Jail in Kerala.

It is the first time a carol service is conducted in the jail since 1959. The prisoners seem to be happy to enjoy the joy of season through the programmes conducted by the school students for them. Apart from carol songs, the students have performed a skit through which they conveyed the message of Christmas to the audience. Also, they have played “Margamkali” (Christian traditional dance with traditional outfits), which was warmly welcomed by the spectators.

Kottayam District Prison Superintendent Sunil Kumar said, “A carol service is conducted in the prison for the first time. We gave permission for the same and are happy for the students who organised it. When the days of Christmas spread joy everywhere, it has provided some good time here too, this year.” The programme was organised by Girideepam School students. While passing the message of joy, peace and salvation, the students have also distributed cake among the prisoners.

Meanwhile, there was another programme organised and conducted by San Jos School special students (mentally challenged). It was a visual treat by the specially talented students, when they performed dance, skit and sang songs for the prisoners. The programme was organised by Deepika Balajanasakhyam under the guidance of Father Roy, who is popularly known as Kochettan, which is his pen name. He is also the Director of Olympics conducted for mentally challenged students as well as the co-ordinator of the programme.

Sunil Kumar said, “It was really a new experience for us when the students performed for us, conveying good messages. Though smiling faces inside the prison are rare, I could find some such faces last days during the programmes.” He said the prisoners seem to be overjoyed as they clapped and sang along with the students, encouraging them.

One of the students who performed in the prison said, “I am so happy as I could perform for them. I feel I could make someone happy and it was a great experience.”

This year, however, the prisoners have “celebrated” Christmas. Sunil Kumar said that there will be one more programme conducted on the Christmas eve, which is organised by Navajeevan trust and will be inaugurated by the Former Justice KT Thomas. The Kottayam Jail was upgraded as District Jail in 2013.(GIN)


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