Himachal prisoners take part in parade

Thirteen prisoners set themselves ‘free’ this Republic Day by marching and playing to the tunes of ‘Sare Jahan se Accha Hindustan Hamara’ here on Sunday.

The prisoners, from two open jails of Himachal Pradesh, marched for the first time as a 13-member band contingent.

‘It’s a proud moment for all of us to get ourselves associated with the patriotic day,’ murder convict Ram Kishan, who led the group, said.

‘One mistake in life can’t discard one throughout life. This gives us an opportunity to reform ourselves,’ he said.
Donning white dress with a striped band on waist, the band was the main attraction at the parade where governor Urmila Singh took the salute. Chief minister Virbhadra Singh, his ministers and other dignitaries were present.

Additional director general of police (Prisons) S.R. Mardi said this was for the first time that the “reformed prisoners” took part in any Republic Day parade in the country.

He said their participation was part of an initiatives taken by the government to reform them.
The prisoners were from the Model Central Jail in Kanda near Shimla and the Central Jail in Nahan.
Mardi said an orchestra band had been set up by the prison department at Nahan so that prisoners can make some money through performances.
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