It was a memorable Deepavali for inmates of the Puzhal central prison here on Tuesday. For the first time, jail authorities permitted them to celebrate the festival with their children.

On the advice of Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) J.K. Tripathy, wards of inmates going to schools under the aegis of the Prison Ministry of India (PMI) were invited to spend the day with their parents. Deviating from the convention of allowing the family to merely meet, the prison officials arranged for vegetable biryani and a variety of sweets.

“It was an emotional get-together of the convicts and their children residing in hostels in and around Chennai. The Puzhal central prison–I has about 700 inmates, mostly life convicts. They had lunch with their children and enjoyed cultural programmes organised to mark the occasion,” Jail Superintendent S. Parameswaran said.

Children of inmates are provided free education and boarding by the PMI. Prison authorities said the idea of allowing children to celebrate Deepavali with their parent would be extended to other central prisons next year.

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