In 59 jails spread across the state, prisoners cutting across religious beliefs are participating in preparations for the rituals dedicated to the Sun god with prison authorities extending all help to them.
"This time two Muslim women inmates - Jaibunnisa and Nafra Khatoon - are among the 103 people who are observing Chhath. This has strengthened the bond of communal harmony. Prisoners of all communities are helping each other on the occasion," Jitendra Kumar, Superintendent of Khudiram Bose Central Jail in Muzaffarpur.
At Mothihari Central Jail, 102 inmates - 51 men and an equal number of women - are observing the festival.

Two Muslim inmates - Amrunnisa and Shahana Khatoon - are also taking part in it. The rest 2,371 inmates are on their toes to provide help to them.
"Chhath demands a very high level of purity and hygiene. All our inmates, be they Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs, have happily taken part in cleaning and decorating the premises. There is a complete change in the environment. It doesn't look like a jail at all," said Motihari Central Jail Superintendent
Rupak Kumar.

When contacted, Prem Singh Meena, Inspector General (IG) Prisons and Correctional Services said though no centralised data regarding the number of Chhath devotees in the prisons is kept, it was a fact that several of the inmates in various jails undertake fast and rituals on the occasion.
"Chhath is an important religious festival. Those who are convicted or are undertrial, but want to celebrate it are allowed to do so," Meena said.
At Bhagalpur Central Jail, 58 males and one Muslim woman are taking part in the rituals. Its superintendent Neeraj Kumar Jha said that the festival has a salutary effect within the premises.
Altogether 40 inmates of a total 2,449 inmates of Beur Central Jail, located on the outskirts of Patna and considered the largest in Bihar, are observing the tough rituals dedicated to the Sun. Of them 28 are women and 12 are men.
Beur Central Jail superintendent Shivendra Priyadarshi said, "We have constructed a pond 'Shanti Sarovar' inside the jail premises and filled it with fresh water mixed with 'Ganga Jal'. All devotees have been provided new clothes and 'puja' materials."
"Many prisoners volunteered and cleaned, as well as, decorated the premises. The entire environment here has become devotional," he added.

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