ONCE A renowned theatre artiste of Chandigarh, Zulfikar Khan, who is serving 21-year sentence in the minor sodomy case, is back to direction. This time, in the Model Jail of Burail directing plays and skits on various social issues. The first such play which saw Khan in a director’s role was staged on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Khan’s first play in the jail, “Koi Mere Liye Bhi Awaaz Uthao”, was to sensitise people to wastage of water. Chief guest Sanjay Kumar Jha, Special Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, had applauded the play.
AIG (Burail Jail) Virat said that the play was prepared by Zulfikar and was staged by the inmates on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.
Khan’s theatre talent came to the jail officials’ notice on August 15, when he along with six-eight inmates prepared a play in the jail complex. The jail officials called Khan and asked him to prepare more skits and plays, and also involve other inmates.
The Burail Jail plans to get Khan to direct more plays and skits. The plays will be prepared on issues like bio gas: a renewable source, drugs and side effects, and many other social issues to motivate the inmates. The jail authorities also plan to buy separate costumes and instruments, if any, required by Khan’s theatre group which now involves more than 20 inmates. The inmates participating in plays will also be given extra refreshment and time from their routine work for rehearsals.
“There is already a music and art club in the jail which comprises 15-20 inmates. The club inmates have been asked to join Khan and work on theatre. The acts performed on social issues will certainly help the inmates in giving them a positive environment and it will also educate the other inmates. The jail administration will also grant remission as per rules to those inmates who are involved in creative activities,” said Virat.
Khan, who is the former director of NGO Theatre Age in Chandigarh, was convicted in three cases for sodomising children by the Chandigarh district court in 2016. He is serving 21-year sentence in three cases of sodomy.