Several non-governmental organisations today joined over 600 inmates of district jail here on the occasion of 'Raksha Bandhan' festival to spread the message of love and harmony. Several women prisoners visited the jail at Amphalla in the city under the banner of Vichar Kranti Manch International (VKMI) this morning and broke down while tying 'rakhis' (sacred thread) on the wrists of NGO volunteers. "We organised the programme as part of our efforts to spread love and harmony," VKMI president S K Jain told PTI. The function started with several bands of inmates performing a colourful folk dance in Punjabi, Dogri and Kashmiri which was followed by "serious talk" in which several guests addressed the prisoners and asked them to learn from their mistakes and lead a normal life once they are out of jail. Tying of rakhi came at the end with both NGO volunteers and prisoners exchanging greetings. "We are very thankful to jail superintendent Javed Masood Fazli for permitting us to observe Raksha Bandhan with the inmates," Jain, a yoga master, said. He said while about 50 women prisoners tied rakhi on the wrists of NGO members, the women members also tied rakhi to a number of male prisoners as per traditional norms. "It is a small effort on our part and we wish this will help change the lives of the prisoners for good," I D Soni of Bharat Scouts and Guides said while addressing the prisoners. Rattan Lal Mahajan, a social activist, lauded the jail authorities for their support and said such functions are programmed to create a sense of belonging in the hearts of the jail inmates. Later, sweets, biscuits and juices were distributed to all the inmates. Deputy jail superintendent Surinder Singh said the prison authorities have organised a special programme to mark the Raksha Bandhan festival and the NGOs who are working for several years for betterment of the inmates were allowed to take part. "It was a goodwill gesture and such interactions are expected to have a good impact on the jail inmates," he said.
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