Indian convicts who pass yoga exam to be freed earlier

Prisoners attending a yoga class in Amritsar. The class is aimed at improving their mental and physical well-being.
Prisoners attending a yoga class in Amritsar. The class is aimed at improving their mental and physical well-being.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MUMBAI • Prison officers in western India have come up with a novel way for convicts to secure early release - master some yoga poses and pass an exam, an official said.

Inmates at Yerwada Central Jail in Maharashtra state can cut their sentences by up to three months if they impress in the ancient Indian practice, said the prison chief yesterday.

"There's a written and physical exam, and those who excel will be given remission with respect to their performance," Mr Bhushankumar Upadhyay, additional director general of the Maharashtra prison department said.

"We have started the written tests and the practical examination will commence in January.

We are going to hold two exams a year and prisoners can get a maximum of three months early release," he added.

Mr Upadhyay said that the programme was aimed at improving the prisoners' mental and physical well-being.

The initiative at the prison in Pune, near Mumbai, is the latest in a long line of yogic programmes to have started since India's yoga-loving leader Narendra Modi was elected prime minister in May last year.

He has set up a ministry dedicated to promoting yoga and other traditional Indian treatments, and also started free yoga classes for his government's three million bureaucrats and their families.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'Indian convicts who pass yoga exam to be freed earlier'. Print Edition | Subscribe