They are all sentenced to lifelong confinement in jail following their conviction in murder cases and authorities say these convicts have no chance of being released on parole in the near future.
Yet, for vast sections of Bihar’s poor, these convicts are eligible bachelors commanding a fair value in the marriage market.
Inmates of the “day out, night in” Buxar open jail in south-central Bihar, these convicts get the opportunity to go out and earn their livelihood after an early morning head count and return in time for the evening count.
The open jail is one among 53 across India and the only one of its kind in Bihar. “Pursuing his own vocation, each convict earns anywhere between Rs 400 and Rs 800 per day, enough to support a family with a fair degree of comfort. That’s why they are in demand in the marriage market,” said jailor Lalan Kumar Sinha.
At least five such convicts have had arranged weddings on the jail premises in the past two years and are now raising families in independent housing units allotted to them.
A case in point is Manoj Kumar of Patna district.
A technician by profession, he got married in 2013 and is now blessed with a daughter. Kumar goes to Buxar and nearby areas to fix fittings and lay wires.
On a good day, he can earn up to Rs 800.
“The women who marry these convicts usually come from very poor families.
The fact that these prospective grooms are earning enough to support them is incentive enough to marry them,” said jail superintendent Sanjay Kumar Choudhary.
He added, “Such weddings further the objective of open jails which is to facilitate the rehabilitation of prisoners.”