Nija is the sister of Mincy whose story has just been narrated. Nija was a favorite of her mother’s. She stayed with her parents until she got married. Mincy forced Nija into the flesh trade to make money. Nija has a baby who is looked after by her parents. Nija moved from place to place. She has been to 10 to 15 jails all over Kerala. She does not bother about her husband and the child anymore. Nija too has a very dark complexion and is big built. Unlike her sister, Nija is not arrogant.
She is very mild and shy like her mother. Her parents were encouraging Nija to return home when she was out of prison. She agreed to her parent’s request and came home. Then she was brought to the ashram. Nija does not speak much but she is very artistic with her hands. She showed great interest in gardening. At times both sisters would quarrel over small things. Then we had to deal with each one separately. After a week, two other friends of Nija also came to the Ashram. But after a few days the three planned to leave the Ashram in the night. They went out and each went in a different direction. Nija roamed about for one month. Her parents took Nija, hoping that she would change her mind and lead a better life. In the meantime I went to meet her at her home. She was told that she could come back to the Ashram but Nija felt very shy and could not face me. I held her hand and wished her a better future. She was advised to look after her child but she did not want to do that.
Nija is living at present with a man steadily. She does not go to hotels or to other cities. She said she does not want to go to prison anymore.
The above experience and later another similar situation taught us that two more companions form the same prison or the same group should not be kept together. And now there are other rehabilitation centers’ in different parts of Kerala. Thus there are better chances of helping individuals. I thank God for all the learning experiences that I got from each of these cases.
I met Nija in December 1997. She came to see me with her mother. On the whole there has been a change in the pattern of her life. Because she does not go in and out of prisons in Kerala. She continues to live with one man. Her parents are also supporting her.
Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' Luke 15: 6
(Real story of the Innocent who suffered in the Dark Cell of the prisons). March 1999, I was A Jesu Raja Poverty leads to blind belief I am from in a remote village in Bangladesh. My father expired when I was small. My mother gave me in marriage when I was fourteen. I got a baby girl. After that my husband left me and settled in nearby town. Along with my mother who was sick we could run the family. There came a “Saviour” who promised me a good job and to take care of my family. She took me to India .That was my first trip out of my country I can see even out of own town. I was full of dreams that my home will be full of blessings by the new ‘Saviour’. Only When I reached Salem in Tamil Nadu I could realize that things are not as I thought. Only the Good Shepherd takes care of the Sheep On 29th October 2008 I was arrested in Salem charging the crimes as per the Foreigners Act and ITP Act. I was remanded to the prison. Without knowing the knowledge, I suffered a lot. My dream ‘Saviour’ left me. I could believe no one. I felt that whole world is against me. I found out that the circumstances are the best teacher. I started learning local language. I was able to speak Tamil. Nearly after two years of imprisonment on 29th I was released. Since I was not having the valid document to be in India as per the Foreigners’ Act I was remanded to a girl’s home in Salem till I get the proper documents.
Waiting is very sad experience January 2010, the judgment came that I am innocent. I am not guilty of ITP Act. So Even though it is not prison I was very much troubled. I was longing to go to my native. Sr. Joyce from Prison Ministry met me and she was my source of consolation. But the time does not wait for any one. It was moving very fast. Nothing happened. Along with me there were two other Bangladesh Girls. They were also eager to meet their family members. Our anxiety closed our eyes so once we had committed the crime of running from the Home. On 15th different. Taste the joy in suffering Only two of us were arrested on 21st (Chennai). Again I was thinking of my fate and crying within myself. I was sick and I had to undergo operation. Every time we go to the Salem Court I had severe pain and agony continued. But it was like shadow in the desert I could feel the love and concern of the Mrs. Allirani the Superintendent of the prison who was kind enough to us. She called the Prison Ministry Volunteers and requested the help for the repatriation of two of us. They were very much helpful. We gave our addresses. Immediately the volunteers contacted the Bishop Bejoy D Cruz OMI of Bangladesh. He told that he has been transferred from Khulna Diocese to another end of the country namely Sylhet Diocese.
His interest towards the ministry and persistent reminder from the volunteers leads him to take action. He could identify the families and write to the Bangladesh embassy in Delhi. To our surprise we were able to get the free travels permit numbers 163082 and 163083 on 11th sides we were very happy. But on the other side on 10th us and again to keep us the Mandapam Camp in until we get the valid documents. Because at that time we have not received the travel permits. Again our life was miserable in the camp. Second life for me Even after getting the travel permits we were not able to go to our native country due to lot of formalities. From one department to another department, from Chennai to Delhi, Delhi to Kolkata the Prison Ministry Volunteers were following the files doing tireless job for us. By the time the validity of our travel permit got over and again by the influence of the volunteers we got the travel permit on 12th a long struggle we got the order from the Government of India on 22nd than four years we met our family members. Their joy cannot be explained in words. They thought that I was dead and gone. When I went there it was like a second life for me. We were very sad we could not meet the volunteers when we left Chennai. Gratitude not in simple words but with whole heart Bishop Bejoy D Cruz OMI and Fr. Nicholas of Khulna Diocese helped us a lot. All of my family members are very much thankful to them.
I was very happy more than the time of my release when the Volunteers visited my little house in a remote village of our country. My mother, sister, and brother were very happy when they had lunch with us. I could feel that only Christians can do this because they follow who went behind the one leaving the ninety nine. The volunteers introduced the Sr. Catherine of RNDM sisters in Bagerghat community and the sisters also happy to help us.
As it was said I was lost and found so please rejoice with family. I request you to continue the same mission since there are lots of lost sheep are in the dark cells. July 2012 we escaped from home. But God’s plan was July 2012 and remanded to Special prison for women in Puzhal October 2012 with the validity of three months. Once October 2012 Magistrate Court in Salem released January 2013. After February 2013. Nearly after more
My name is Munusamy. I was born on 10thmy family situation I could not continue my studies. I started going for painting works. When I was at the age of 17, that unforgettable day of fate came. It was 8thafter the work. My friend asked me to get a tea for him. So I went home and told my mother that I shall go to the tea stall and come. But my mother told please take supper and go. I disobeyed her words which I felt many times in my life. When I went with my friend to take tea I saw few people were beating a man in front of my house. I could not do anything and I came home. Early morning Policemen came to my home and arrested me in connection with a murder case. The man one who got beatings went and told his relative that some men beat him. So his relative came with a knife and murdered that man one who beat him. When the policemen enquired about this the man who got beatings told the police men that Munusamy saw me getting beatings from the people. So policemen included me in the case. They framed charges against me and filed case where I was a 3. I got the bail and I came out my family members felt that it is only false case so I will be released. The Advocate also told that I will be released. So in the year 1999 I got married to a girl. We were living together. We got a girl baby in the year 2000. But in the year 2001 the Sessions court gave the judgment stating that I am involved in the case for the life term punishment. The Advocate consoled me that not to worry and we shall win in the High court. Believing his words my family spent members spent lot of money for the release of me. After the Appeal in the High Court I came out on Bail with the hope that I will be freed. In the year 2004 we got a baby boy. We were very happy but the happiness did not last for long. In the year 2005 the High court confirmed the Judgment gave me life Term. All my family members including me it was a great shock. I went in to dark cells of the prisons once again. I felt that all the doors were closed. I have to be here all my life time. There came a ray of hope in the form of Prison Ministry India Volunteers. They comforted me and took the cases and found out that I am innocent. So they wanted to help me to come out. Since the High court has given the Judgment to appeal we have to go to Supreme Court. It will take long time and long process. I was continuously praying to the Lord with the Prison Ministry Volunteers to show me the way. There came a loop hole that when the incident took place I was below 18. Immediately knowing this the volunteers with the help of the Legal team filed a writ petition in the High Court. After verifying my school certificates and the School Headmaster I was released on 3rdwas really a great miracle for me. I never thought that I will come out. It is because of the Prison Ministry Volunteers I am out of the dark cells of the prison. I am really grateful to the, Lord for having released me from the clutches of the prison. Express my heartfelt thanks to Fr Xavier Arul Raj and his team who argued for me for the release without even spending a penny I am released. When I spent all my money I was sent to the prison. But When I have not spent any money I am released. It is by the Grace of the Lord and by the help of the Prison Ministry Volunteers I am with my family. I am really indebted to them not only me but also my whole family. Since I was in prison I know that there are lots of innocents are languishing for their freedom. May the Good Lord give you strength to release many more innocents from the prisons September 1978? I studied up to 8th Standard. Due to June 1996. I came home August 2013.It and unite with their family members.
2. I was born in a traditional Hindu family, lived by its traditions and customs. I am fairly educated and a decent job just to support the livelihood of the family. I chose a life partner contrary to the family customs and traditions. By this; I was put out from my family. Later, my husband and I got involved in a cheating case and we were sent to the sub jail at Palghat-Kerala. I never dreamt such a terrible life. This and the heart ailment of my husband broke me down totally. I lost every hope and thought even to end my life. Though I could have been released from the jail earlier than my husband, I did not wish to be released because I did not know where to go and neither I could trust the society. So ending my life was the conclusion. But God had different plan for me “for surely I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope”. (Jere: 29/11). In the sight of that Great Mathematician, my calculations had no value. One fine day, the good lord sent His three angels into those dark cells of the jail. Those angels were three nuns who accepted God as their spouse. They changed the path of my life. That was Gods’ plan. He says, “that whoever believes in me may have eternal life”(Jn.3/15). On 29threleased from the jail and was taken to Ashadeepam by two sisters. The first thing that they introduced to me was a Chapel and Jesus who was waiting just for me. There I was confused of what to do and how to pray. They supported me to share all my worries with Jesus. “Fear not; believe that everything is for good. Why has your countenance fallen?” (Gene. 4:6). It did not take to realize that I am in God’s hands. Till that day, I was taking drugs (medicine) for asthma. But form that very day, I did not take any medicine for asthma. I was cured when I accepted the true God. When I recognized Jesus as my savior, I surrendered my husband completely in God’s hands. With tears, night and day I prayed for him. God heard my cry and my husband was healed.
For the last few years, I had forgotten even to smile, but now I am able to laugh. As Psalmist says,” therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices, my body also rests secure” (Ps. 16/9).
However, I was very much worried about my future. My future appeared to be void, but when I started praying with hope, I was relieved out of all my fears. “Let your gentleness be known to every-one. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart” (Phil. 4/5-6). This was very true in my life.
My husband’s case is still prolonging. I believe that it is God’s plan. “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Rome8/28).
My life in Ashadeepam enabled me to get acquainted with many godly persons. I was taught to face the challenges of life. Still I was anxious about my husband and waited for him every day to come out of the bar to see the dawn of freedom. When my expectations failed, I did not get depressed, thanks to the inner voice I listened, “Ask the Lord to bless your plans and you will be successful in carrying them out” (proverb 16/3). Now God has given me the courage to face all the tribulations of life. The golry of the Lord has risen upon me.
I am very grateful to all those who helped me to experience God’s mercy and love. I recognized my savior, the one who wiped away my tears. “ In my distress, I called upon the Lord, to my God I cried for help. From his temple, he heard my voice and my cry to him reached his ears” (Ps. 18/6). The Lord is my strength. The God made my feet like the feet of a deer and filled my heart out of his words.
Leela’s father died when she was very young. She has two older brothers and two younger sisters. Her mother had to work very hard to bring up five children with at least the minimum education. While two brothers worked in a factory, the mother and the three daughters were employed in the coir industry. Leela is the oldest among the girls. She was about to get married. She met a boyfriend when she went our daily to work. One day after collecting her salary she ran away with the boy. On his part he was planning to cheat her. Both of them moved around together, only for two days, after which to Leela was afraid to return home and thus fell into the company of some women sex workers. Soon she found herself in the prison. There she learned worse things than before. She picked up bi-sexual behavior inside the prison. She met Rugma (whom I have already mentioned) there and became close friends. They went in and out of prison together for a while. Leela is very quiet and shy. She was afraid of her brothers. She did go home one day with her friend. But her bothers didn’t allow her to enter there.
Leela in the Ashram
Constantly harassed by men, they realized their lives weren’t safe or respectable. Leela and her friend Rugma decided to change their way of life and came to the Ashram. Leela was afraid to reveal the truths about her life. But slowly we helped her to air her feelings. She spoke well of her mother. On paying her family a visit we realized her mother had no objection to take her two sisters refused to talk to Leela.
Leela was given all the chances to learn some skills. She was also encouraged and helped to read and write, so as not to forget the basic education and received. While in prison, Leela had learned weaving skills. Leela and opportunities daily for attending classes, counseling, prayer, meditation and games. After a few months of the renewal programme, Leela was encouraged to go home.
Leela was rehabilitated back in her own home. Her mother was happy to have her. In the beginning Leela found it very hard to cope with the situation, since the other members of the family were not communicating with her. Her mother took her for work again. Thus Leela was soon an earning member of the family. We did keep in touch. We went to visit her at home. Leela came to see us in the Ashram. Once when we went to see Leela, she was looking after her mother in the hospital. Her mother too expressed gratefulness to us for taking care if her daughter. The fact we had visited her in the hospital made a big difference to them. By then her family members also reconciled with Leela. This made Leela in turn very happy too!
Leela visited the Ashram regularly at least once a month. Once she even bought two of her friends to show them the place where she lived and the home she loved so much. Leela continues to go work regularly with her mother and sisters. The mother is also looking out for a boy to settle her in marriage. Leela had been at home for the last 4years. We wish Leela and her family all the best in the future. 1997- Leela has gone to the Gulf to work and earn for the family. One of her cousins took her there. 2004 – She is married and well settled in life.
Mincy has parents and a younger sister. Her father was very strict with her. Mincy was closer to her father and her mother loved the younger one. Mincy’s parents also had problems. Both the girls went to school and studied up to the 7th and 8th standard.
Because their father was very strict both the girls were not allowed to go out. Mincy waited for a chance to get out. At one time she was daily going out to get milk. Slowly she fell in love with a boy. They came close to each other, wrote love letters and began to have fun and jokes. Few days they enjoyed each other’s company. Then he took her gold chain and said he would put it in the bank, rent a small room and they would live together. She agreed to it.
He came back arranging to sell her to the flesh trade. He took her to a big hotel in Ernakulum city. He put her in a room and went out pretending to buy something. That was the end of the love affair. He never returned to the hotel. Only after six months, she managed to come out with one of the customers. The next morning he did leave her alone. She immediately went to the house of her parents, but they did not allow her to even enter the house. She requested them to listen to her at least. But her parents and her sister chased her out. With that anger within her, she came back to the streets and joined other women who were ready to grab her into their group.
From then onwards Mincy developed a bitter attitude towards her parents as well as towards men. Because of what her boyfriend had done to her, she was ready to jump into any crime, including alcohol, smoking, drugs, pick -pocketing. She was especially known for stealing the neighbour’s chickens. She would go to anybody’s house at anytime of the night and take away clothes whenever she wanted, and moved about as a man. Mincy was a huge figure with a very dark complexion. She was known among them – in jail as well as in the surrounding where she lived as “glass Mincy” or “Knife Mincy”. Because she used glass pieces or a knife to defend herself, to attack others including policemen,. She used glass piece to cut herself and threaten. Her left hand had a number of such marks.
Mincy was a threatening figure in her area. She said the policemen themselves have used her and other women, while they are out on the streets or bus stand. Once she narrated a story, which shocked everyone. She was angry with a policeman and in order to teach him a lesson, first she made friendship with him and invited him to join her for a nightcap. He happily accepted her invitation without realizing what was in store for him. Mincy fed him with good food and strong alcohol unitl he was unconscious. She then moved his clothes and put them on herself, wrapped him up with her saree and left him there. And the next day she went to his house and handed over his clothes. Whenever Mincy narrated stories of this type, she made herself the “Hero”.
Another time one of her gang members let out a secret to the police. Mincy knew who had done it. She planned a similar idea to punish her. The gang normally went to a forest place during the day to enjoy themselves. Once about six of them went there, had good food and had a bit fun among them then the “Devil of Revenge” emerged from Mincy. She caught hold of this lady and tied her to a tree naked. It did not end there. She collected some big ants and put them on her private parts and standing a bit away they enjoyed the scene. This scene surely reminded me of the crucifixion of Jesus. The soldiers mocked Jesus saying “Come down”. This woman too was kept there for 2or 3 hours (may be the worst king of imprisonment). Later they relieved her.
Another occasion revealed the soft side of Mincy, when agreed to look after a man who was involved in a murder case. Both his hands were impaired badly. She stayed with him and looked after him day and night. They agreed to settle down together. But to her surprise, after caring for him for about 8 months, he got well and disappeared. By this time she also went to home a couple of times. Most of her neighbours were afraid of her. On one occasion she went to the house and had a solid fight with her father. Mincy also hanged herself on the wooden beam of the house. But fortunately the beam broke and she fell.
Mincy’s parents kept praying that their daughter would change her way of life. She spent many years like a hero there. I would like to quote one more story of hers, which is very revealing in terms of her personality. One night after she had completed her relationship with men, she came out wearing a shirt and pants. She hired an auto -rickshaw. The driver agreed to take her out because he was afraid of her. After a few minutes she asked him to stop the auto. After about few kms she stopped, to the driver to wait there till she gets the money from someday. She never returned. The poor auto driver could not so anything.
Then came her turning point. When she had a fight with another fellow and got a bad wound. She was in hospital for a long time. She was looked after by one of her customers – who had agreed to marry her and to live with her. Being a well-known sex –worker of the area, the doctors also were not interested. The wound got worse and she was told that she might not survive. Then she realized her misbehavior. She asked to see her parents before she should die. As soon as her mother heard the news, she wanted to go to visit Mincy, but the father was not willing. Then with great pressure on the part of the mother, he allowed her to go and see Mincy. Mincy’s mother gave some money to the doctor so that she would get better treatment for her daughter. Mincy slowly showed improvement.
Mincy wanted to come home and live there. But her father was still reluctant to take her. Finally her mother pleaded for her and she was brought home on condition that she did not go back to her past life. In time, her parents advised her to go to the Ashram. Though reluctant. She agreed.
Mincy at the Ashram
Mincy was brought to the Ashram by her own parents. Before they left the Ashram, the parents also said that their second daughter who is married with a child is in prison. They expressed their desire to bring her as well to the Ashram.
Mincy took great pleasure in proclaiming her stories loud to other inmates. Slowly we had to put a stop to this habit. We allowed her to pour out her life story to the sisters or the counselor – who came from a Family- counseling Centre. At times she would threaten us by saying she wanted to leave. The first time I spoke to her gently and convinced her to stay she agreed. Later on, after a few months, she came with her bags ready to leave. I gently told Mincy she could go and offered her travel fare. After a few minutes she changed her mind and never again expressed the desire to leave. At times we too have to be very firm with them and not give into their whims and fancies.
Mincy had very little self-esteem. Any time we confronted her about her behavior, she referred to her- self as a “prostitute” and put the blame on us. A second time I heard that, I spoke to her very firmly. I told her that she was calling herself a prostitute and not others. I told her that I did not want to hear this again from her lips. She was also counseled to accept herself as a good person and not to go over the past all the time. She had a lot of guilt feelings, which she was also helped to overcome. Of course it was not easy for Mincy to do this. Yet she tried her best and everybody helped her, encouraged her, though some staff and few residents were afraid of her. Only with good moral strength and God’s power we could control her.
Her parents often visited her at the Ashram; this bought a feeling of belonging to Mincy. Mincy stayed for one year at the Ashram. It was time for rehabilitation. Her house was a one-room tenement for the parents and the daughters, in order to make it easier for them; we found sponsors and helped the parents to build another room. They did that with the help of a contractor. But before they started living in it, it collapsed. Then the parents began to think of selling the house so they could move to a new place and begin afresh. They were hesitant to do so. Then Mincy was sent to another centre of ours for a second stage of rehabilitation process. There she made an exit because the centre was not yet well organized. It had just begun functioning. She stayed with them for a few months though trying to play the hero. Being in a new situation, she did take advantage on many occasions. She eventually returned to her parents, but unfortunately they did not keep her in the house.
Since the last one year, she is living with a man. Her father has helped them get a house to live in. she does not go to jail anymore. I still believe those two full years she stayed away from her past life – have helped her to think and be a changed person. Once she found a place to live; now she leads a settled life.