New Delhi, Dec 2. Convicts of murder mouthing words of peace and friendship, unbelievable as it
may sound, that was what was witnessed at the Tihar jail this morning when about 70 convicts spoke
about divine experiences after completing nine days of meditation and silence.
About 106 persons, including 37 from the prison staff,
participated in the nine-day maitri session which was presided over by the former Home
Secretary of Rajasthan, Mr Ram Singh.
According to the IG (Prisons), Ms Kiran Bedi, nobody was
allowed to disturb the meditation course which was conducted in a special enclosure with cells for
the participants to stay in. The food was also cooked and shared by the participants inside the
enclosure where they were completely isolated, she said.
The DIG (Prisons), Mr Jaydev Sarangi, said the convicts
were chosen at random and that no force was used to make them participate in the course.
| A convict under the NDPS Act, Kishore Devmukhi, said that for the first three days
many of the prisoners did not take the meditation seriously but that the persuasion of Acharya
Goenka who regularly discoursed in the evening finally persuaded the convicts to observe the
strict code of conduct imposed during the course.He said that the Acharya had persuaded them to
bring out the layers of bitterness hidden inside each of them through self-meditation. He,
however, said that the atmosphere was not too conducive for meditation as they could hear the
sounds of loudspeakers during the poll campaigning.
Another convict, Rayfield Wofford from the USA who has
been behind bars for the past six-and-a half years said that some of the participants were more
serious about the meditation course than others. As for himself, he was under tremendous pressure
as his bail application is to come up for hearing in the Delhi High Court next week, he said.