Hyderabad: In Ramzan, one of the most scorned sections of society is remembered by two organisations that provide seasonal fruits and dates for the Iftaar to the inmates of four city jails.
Majlis Dawat-ul-Islam has been quietly arranging Iftaar — food taken when the day’s fast is broken in the evening — for the inmates of jails for 28 years, while Jamat-e-Islami is providing fruits for the last seven years, with the permission of the Department of Prisons and Correctional Services.
Some 750 prisoners observe fast during Ramzan In Hyderabad’s jails.
NGOs provide fruits and food during the holy month with the prior permission of the Department of Prisons.
Some arrange a one-day Iftaar, while the two above mentioned organisations have been providing fruits for the entire month.
According to the data available, in Cherlapalli prison about 450-500 inmates are observing the fast. In Chanchlaguda 200-250 prisoners, and in the Women’s Prison 30-40 inmates and 25-30 in the Juvenile Home are observing the fast.
These numbers are approximate as prisoners are released on completion of their term, new ones are added and under-trials get bail. President of Majlis Dawat-ul-Islam Khaja Ali Babar said they had informed jail authorities that many prisoners are observing the fast, but they were not getting sufficient fruits in Iftaar.
“Our organisation resolved to provide fruits to them. We decided to obtain permission from the department and since 1993 have been supplying fruits without interruption for the inmates of Central Prison Hyderabad (Chanchalguda), Central Prison Cherlapally, Special Prison for Women, Hyderabad, and Juvenile Home Saidabad. We spend about `3 lakh for this purpose, which is met by our members and friends,” he said
“Earlier, the members of the organisation were allowed to enter the jail, our volunteers used to arrange Iftaar inside the jail, but from the last three years, our entry has been restricted and authorities have asked us to hand over the fruits at the jail gate to the superintendent or deputy superintendent of the jail,” Mr Babar told this newspaper.
Even more surprising, Mr Babar said that earlier they were allowed to deliver sermons during Jumma prayers during the holy months, but for the last three years, this too has been prohibited by the jail officials.
“If we are allowed to deliver sermons it will be beneficial for the prisoners in understanding the religious commandments which surely build their character and bring positive changes in their attitude and behaviour,” Mr Babar pointed out.
The Malakpet unit of the Jamaat-e-Islami is also providing fruits to Chanchalguda and Cherlapalli jails.
Syed Abdul Quadar Nasir of the Jamaat said that last year the organisation was allowed to lead the Eid prayer in Chanchalguda and “we hope this year also we will get permission for the same.”
President of the Jamat-e-Islami Moulana Hamid Mohammed Khan said one of the affiliated wings of the organisation Movement for Peace & Justice has provided finance for special arrangements for Sehri (pre-dawn meal) in jails.