In a unique example of communal harmony, 45 Hindu prisoners in Tihar Jail in new Delhi have been keeping rozas, the dawn-to-dusk fast during Ramzan, along with over 1,800 Muslim inmates.
Tihar Law officer Sunil Gupta said the Hindu prisoners had started keeping rozas from July 11, the first day of Ramzan and conveyed to the authorities that they would continue it for the entire length of fasting period.
"45 Hindu inmates have joined around 1,800 Muslim inmates in observing fasts. It is a wonderful example of unity and harmony among the prisoners," said Gupta.
Against its sanctioned strength to house 6,000 prisoners, the Tihar prison currently has 13,000 inmates including 3,500 from Muslim community.
Gupta said the jail authorities have made all the arrangements so that those observing Ramzan do not face any difficulty.
"We are making special arrangements for the inmates keeping roza. Various food items are being made available to them at 3am while seasonal fruits, snacks and other dishes are being arranged for 'iftar' (the evening meal)," he said.
Gupta said fasting by the Hindu prisoners along with their Muslim friends have symbolised the "strong bond of unity" among the inmates which must be "sincerely appreciated".
Ramzan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is observed as a fasting period by Muslims, who abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset.
Muslims wake up early morning for the pre-dawn 'sehri' meal renouncing food and water during the day before breaking their fasts in the evening. The sumptuous evening meals are known as 'iftars'.
The month-long fasting will culminate in the Id-ul-Fitr celebrations next month.
As Islam follows a lunar calendar, the holy month begins every year about 11 days earlier and its commencement is traditionally determined by the appearance of the new moon.