Jaunpur is a small town of Varanasi district in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a state in North India. Ajeet Kumar Saroj was just 21 when he killed his neighbour in a fight over a land dispute. He is 24 now and is serving a 10-year sentence in Varanasi Central Jail.
Ajeet a resident of Jaunpur district was convicted in 2012 under IPC section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder). He has come into the news as a national topper in a one-year diploma course offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou).
Prof GC Jaswal, vice-chancellor of Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, honoured Ajeet with a Gold medal at IGNOU’s 28th convocation held at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on the 8th of August 2015.A N Tripathi, director, IGNOU Varanasi region, said “ It is a distinctive achievement for our university because this has not happened in IGNOU’s history as far as I can recall”. He also added “Ajeet is going to be an inspiration for other convicts as well from Naini, Varanasi and Gorakhpur jails that falls in this region”
Ajeet’s Father said “Ajeet tried to save us during a fight. Since then, we have decided that we will not fight with anybody on any issue. My son is in jail since 2012 and we are waiting for his release every day. But only three years have passed.”
Ajeet was awarded with his gold medal along with over 1,92,000 students at its 28th convocation held on 8 August.
A Young individual who sustained aggression without vision or mission became an motivation for other lawbreakers. Educating Indian convicts is a practice encouraged by Government Of India which thinks highly of the individual’s rights and human dignity, and tries to develop right set of circumstances for the growth of skills and potential which will encourage the criminal to live a dignified life upon release from prison.
Associating NGOs in this programme is a partnership between community, prison officials and the prisoners enduring punishment, to analyse, recognize and enact the areas and probability of improvement in prisons.There are 41 NGOs such as , “AASRA”,”Ritinjali”, “Gandhi Smriti & Darshan Samiti”,”Muskan Foundation”,”Asha Ki Kiran”,etc .who are working in the Prisons in individual fields of reformative and rehabilitative activities. NGOs are pledging their help to the Prison Department in the field of counseling, health, education, vocational training, crèche activities, rehabilitation, yoga and meditation, drug de-addiction, legal-aid, moral upliftment etc. etc. Participation of NGOs with the collaboration of NIOS and IGNOU increasing the percentage of literate prisoners. Indian prisons are putting more emphasis on their rehabilitation and improvement, making them educated and civilized to a greater extent for successful reintegration into society.
This would go a long way to build on the employability and self-employment opportunities for prisoners and their financial independence.