“If I qualify for IAS, my State's [Manipur] development will be my priority”

They may be on the other side of the law but these Tihar inmates are burning midnight oil to make it to the bureaucracy and assist lawmakers.

Six inmates, lodged inside Jail No. 3 for crimes like murder, kidnapping and cheating, are toiling hard to qualify for the Indian Administrative Services examination even though they are not certain about their release.

Self-study method

With no coaching centres at their disposal, all are following the self-study method and in need they turn to one of their co-inmates, who once trained IAS aspirants.

“Manipur has the potential to add to the Indian economy if explored well. Till date it remains neglected. The youth there should be motivated. If I qualify for the IAS exams, development of my State [Manipur] will be my prime agenda,” Gaijoao Mei George said.

Charged with murder, George made headlines after getting several job offer letters from companies that carried out the first-ever campus placement drive in Tihar Prisons.

“I study whenever I get time. The GNIIT course that I did when I was outside is helping me a lot. Twenty-four hours are too less for preparation. One of the inmates, who is also trying for the exam, helps me,” he said.

Blessing in disguise

Siddharth Singh Sidar, a resident of Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh and undergoing imprisonment for cheating, has come as a blessing in disguise for many like George.

An IITian from Kharagpur, Siddharth quit his job and came to Delhi to prepare for the IAS exams. He used to run tutorial classes in Mukherjee Nagar area for IIT aspirants before he got entangled in a cheating case.

“I am in the jail since December 2010. Should I consider this imprisonment a blessing or a curse, I do not know. I am happy that I am getting the time to prepare for the civil services which I hardly had when I was out,” he said.

DG (Prisons) Neeraj Kumar said the prison officials are extending all possible help as far as study materials are concerned.

“The Delhi High Court in 2009 set free a convict in a rape case after he made it to the civil services while undergoing life imprisonment in Tihar Central Jail here,” he told PTI.

“Corruption and wrongdoings can come to an end if the existing policies are implemented well,” said another IAS aspirant Gaurav Sharma, held for kidnapping and murder.

“Gaurav is a patient listener. He was pursuing a course with the Aeronautical Society of India before he was held. He was aiming to join the DRDO. He studies very hard,” said a prison official.

Amit Jha, lodged for kidnapping, prefers to study in the night.

‘Difficult to concentrate in day'

“It is too difficult to concentrate during the day. There are loudspeakers around and inside the prison. At night, when all are asleep, I am able to concentrate. I dedicate around four hours. I was preparing for the IAS exams even before I came into the jail. Every Bihari aims for the IAS and I am no different. If I make it, discrimination on caste basis is one area where I will try and bring about some change,” Jha said.

However, Rajkumar Rathod and Sandeep, both residents of Kanpur and held for murder, have a different reason for undertaking the civil service examination.

“We have been wronged by the police and that is why we landed here. They did not investigate well and that is why we are languishing in the jails,” Rajkumar said.