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Prison inmates make Ravana effigy

Three 40-feet-high effigies of Ravana built by the Edinburgh inmates were set ablaze to mark the festival of Dussehra.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2007 12:49 IST

Three 40-feet-high effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkaran built by the inmates of an Edinburgh prison were set ablaze to mark the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

Organisers estimated that Monday's spectacle brought more than 2,500 people to Calton Hill.

Mohindra Dhall, president of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum, which organised the event, said he was delighted it had gone well.

"I am really pleased because it was a real struggle getting the effigies up here. I was delighted so many people came along to take part as every year we try to get as many youngsters as possible involved," he added.

Inmates at Saughton Prison built the effigies for the second year running, according to news portal

The size of the effigies had organisers at one point considering calling the Territorial Army for help. In the end, that did not prove necessary although it took more than four hours to transport the gigantic figures.

Dan Gunn, governor of the Edinburgh prison, said: "It has been great for the prisoners to be involved again this year and while there were a few problems getting the effigies up here it has been well worth it.

"It is very pleasing to be part of the community. This is a festival about the triumph of good over evil and hopefully some of my prisoners will realise that by helping out, they are also atoning for what they have done and helping to make a better society."

The festival began with the Ramlila Parade, led by a local pipe band. They were joined by horse-drawn carriages and youngsters dressed up as Hindu gods, monkeys and demons. The parade wound up to Calton Hill for the main festivities, which began with a display of traditional Indian dancing.

First Published: Oct 16, 2007 12:37 IST