Prisoners in Bihar celebrate Chhath

Saturday, November 13, 2010

PATNA - Hundreds of prisoners in Bihar, including women undertrials, observed the Chhath festival Saturday by fasting and offering prayers inside the jail premises - with prison authorities providing help in the form of new clothes and puja material.

The four-day-long Chhath festival ended Saturday morning in Bihar with millions braving the chill to take a dip in the river to offer prayers to the rising sun.

Prisoners in dozens of jails, including Patna’s Central Beur jail, the Bhagalpur Central Jail, Gaya Central Jail and Lakhisarai and Munger jails, performed Chhath.

More than three dozens prisoners, including women, in Patna’s Beur jail observed the Chhath festivities and prison authorities said that they had given new clothes to the inmates.

The prisoners were also provided the materials needed for the rituals - like fruits, rice, sugar and coconuts. “We have provided basic items to those performing Chhath inside jail,” a jail official said. The prisoners also received puja material from their relatives.

Similarly, nearly 100 prisoners performed Chhath puja in Bhagalpur central jail. Inmates in prisons in Gaya, Buxar, Nawada, Aurangabad and Muzaffarpur also offered prayers. A Bhagalpur jail official said they were extending all help to the inmates in performing the religious ritual. Many of the inmates also observed a 36-hour fast since Thursday night as part of the ritual, he said.

“Special arrangements were made inside jail premises to enable the prisoners to offer prayers to the sun to mark the end of Chhath,” officials said.

Chhath is celebrated by Hindus six days after Diwali.

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