It is time in Tihar Jail for some sectarian bonhomie with Hindu inmates joining the Muslims in keeping roza - the dawn-to-dusk fasting during Ramadan - and readying for Eid revelries.
"It is the first time that 24 Hindu inmates have joined hands with their Muslim friends to fast during roza," said CR Garg, the deputy inspector general of Tihar Jail. He said 400 inmates of the country's biggest prison were observing the month-long fast during the holy month.
During the Navratri - the nine-day Hindu festival - last month, 20 Muslim prisoners had joined in the fasting. "We promote such gestures as it helps develop communal harmony and inmates develop a sense of respect towards other people. It is after years of concentrated effort that this transformation is being seen in the jail," Garg said. "We keep these inmates on one floor so that food can be distributed to them early in the morning without disturbing the others," he added. "The jailers have been asked to prepare the food according to the demands of the inmates.
In case of fund shortage, they have been told to take money from jail officials. "We have given a free hand to the cooks and jailers to start deciding on the Eid menu," he said.
Sunil Gupta, a law officer at the jail, said: "We have asked them (the cooks) to prepare seviyan kheer (a vermicelli sweet), which will be distributed to all inmates." Tihar Jail is home to over 14,000, some of them being the most notorious terrorists and criminals in the country.