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Prison is no ‘bar’ for him to grow

A 27-year-old convict in Kanda jail near Shimla compiles ‘Competition Companion’, a magazine for job seekers in HP.

Archana Phull | Shimla |

For him, the four walls of prison are not a place where he stops growing. He has taken it a period in continuity with lots to achieve and lots to give others, by the time he steps out.

Vikram Singh Khimta, 27, a convict serving seven years imprisonment for a crime in Model Central Jail, Kanda near Shimla has compiled the first issue of his monthly magazine, ‘Competition Companion’ in English.

The magazine goes into print later this week and will be launched shortly, all with support by jail authorities.

“I am bringing out this periodical for those preparing for state competitions, including civil services. I myself want to compete for civil services in state and in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This is helping me in my own preparation also,” said Khimta.

He belongs to Shimla district, studied in a local convent school and has done Master of Arts (MA) in English as well as Geography from Himachal Pradesh University here.

Hopeful of positive outcome of his appeal in High Court against conviction by trial court in Shimla, Khimta reads eight newspapers, including English dailies in the jail everyday to keep himself abreast of the latest happenings. “I was always fond of reading. So I did not leave this habit in the prison also,” he said.

His magazine ‘Competition Companion’ contains current affairs, knowledge about Himachal and the country and any other information that could help in preparing for competition. He said some other jail inmates helped him in compilation work as per their capacity.

Shortly, he plans to bring it in Hindi also, which can have a wider reach. An outspoken inmate, Khimta is also one of the four inmates, who work as Radio Jockey for the Radio Kara Junction, which was launched in Kanda jail sometime back for the inmates in Kanda and Nahan jail.

The Radio Kara Junction broadcasts regional news and other spiritual messages— And sometimes, the inmates are given a pleasant surprise, when they listen to wishes sent by their family members for them on their birthday. “The prison authorities picked me up for Radio Jockey training by the Big FM staff in Shimla. I enjoy doing it,” said Khimta.

The convict, who earlier worked as a teacher in the private school, is optimistic about his future. “I know I will be acquitted and for that I am ready to fight it out till the Supreme Court. In case I am not, even then, I will keep engaging myself in positive activities. I know it is just a phase and will be over,” he
said.