AT TALOJA Central prison, an in-house search for singers among undertrials culminated in a performance on Saturday to mark Constitution Day and to commiserate the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The prison in Navi Mumbai houses over 2,300 inmates, mostly undertrials from Mumbai and Thane. Over three months ago, prison officials said, they decided to give a platform to the singing enthusiasts. “Most undertrials are always under stress about their cases and their predicament. We had asked those interested to show their singing skills,” said Superintendent of Taloja Central Jail, Sadanand Gaikwad.
He said while many had showed enthusiasm to perform in front of the rest of the inmates and guests, 12 were shortlisted for the final performance. The selected ones then underwent two months of daily practice. Inmates performed songs in Marathi and Hindi, including patriotic songs and film numbers. An official said a similar programme was held over two years ago for poetry enthusiasts.
“Many undertrials lodged for offences come from a social and financial background where they were never given an opportunity to hone or show their skills. We wanted to encourage them and made the arrangements,” Gaikwad said.
A pandal was set up to accommodate all the undertrials and an itinerary prepared.
“When we organised such an event earlier, we realised that many who portrayed to be aggressive due to their criminal background developed a stage fright. Therefore, this time much more preparation was done,” said another official.
Gaikwad added that since the performers were all undertrials, there would be no remission or other benefits for them from the activity.