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Don Bosco Liluah Students Visit Correctional Homes


By Br. PA Jose
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Kolkata, Aug. 26. A visit to the correctional homes of DumDum, Alipore and Midnapore was an eye opener for the 200 odd students of Don Bosco Liluah, who had led a cocooned life so far. As a part of their S.U.P.W Project the students, accompanied by their teachers, visited these places on the 15th, 16th and the 17th of August respectively to share with the inmates their stories and offer some succor amidst the pain of imprisonment.
The first visit that they paid to the DumDum correctional home moved the students. The inmates were insufficiently dressed and it seemed their number had exceeded the permissible capacity. They adjusted somehow. The children of the inmates needed better attention too. When items of daily use were being distributed among the inmates there was grabbing and snatching.

The next visit to the Alipore Women's correctional home and the Presidency correctional home raised their spirits a little. It came to be known that in the Alipore correctional home the inmates were taught various skills in- stitching, making ornamental handbags and other crafts.

At the Presidency correctional home the students were received by the inmates themselves. They even were shown around by the inmates, though the officials were always by their side. It was like walking back in history, when they were taken to the cell where Netaji was kept in captivity before he was put on house arrest.

The gallows, an object of terror, was shown to the students; its mechanism and how death occurs by hanging was explained. Light hearted fun in the form of a football match against the inmates set the mood for the day. A fair game it was, though the students lost.  

The final visit was to the Midnapore correctional home, where conditions needed the attention of the administration. The female inmates of the home very diligently had prepared a buffet lunch for the students.

Cultural programmes were organized by the students for the inmates at all places. However not all the inmates could participate owing to security reasons.

It was observed that in the women correctional homes, most of the inmates were young Bangladeshis, who while crossing the Indo-Bangladesh border were caught for not having proper identification and documentation.
         
The life that the students had witnessed behind the prison left them sobered and compassionate to the needs and life of others who are less fortunate then them. It was also a reminder of the truth behind Nelson Mandela's words, ''It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.''
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