Apsara Reddy’s Puzhal Prison Documentary launched by Commissioner of Police AK Viswanathan, Health Secretary Dr. Radhakrishnan J, Actor Gautami and Director Vetrimaran
Some of India’s most dreaded criminals are lodged inside the 212-acre compound of Puzhal Central Prison. Serial rapists, murderers, drug lords, kingpins of prostitution rackets, child molesters and even those who have been convicted for assassinating India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Through this documentary, trained journalist Apsara Reddy explored the many facets of Prison Life. She gets up close and personal with some high-profile inmates including child rapist Dhashvanth, who also later beat his mother to death. Perarivalan, one of the convicts who has been in jail for over 27 years opens up to Apsara on how he feels inside Jail. Apsara captures heightened turbulence in the mind of child rapists and drug lords sensitively as she takes the viewer on a journey of tuning into their stories and forming opinions on the minds of the prisoners.
Senior Prison officers including ADGP Prisons, Ashutosh Shukla, DIG (CENTRAL) PRISONS Murugesan, Human Rights advocates, Terrorism experts and Crime Reporters weigh in with their opinion in the documentary. Apsara finds out if reformation that is attempted by Prison Authorities is successful and asks the question – Do these convicts deserve a second chance?
Speaking to those on death row and even a Pakistani spy, she explores the possibility of manipulation, deception and hoodwinking the system by the criminal mind.
Following the screening of the documentary that was watched by many dignitaries from CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), FICCI FLO, VGP Group Chairman, Dr Santhosam, Arasan Group head honcho Gaddafi Malik and many others, a panel discussion was held to discuss death penalty for child rapists.
Panelists included, Dr Kamala Selvaraj (Gynaecologist), Sudha Ramalingam (Advocate), Vetrimaran (National Award Winning Director), AX Alexander (Fmr DGP), Sumithra Prasad (Mental Health Expert) and many others.
Speaking on the occasion, Apsara Reddy, said, “I salute the amazing work that is carried out by the Police force and Prison officers in trying to reform Prisoners and bring about justice. Especially, the police department under the guidance of AK Viswanathan has enabled wider reporting and crime prevention against children.”
She added, “Shooting inside prison was very tough. Many prisoners exhibited violent streaks, an overt frustration and abusive language. Those that agreed to be filmed were very clever and had mostly rehearsed answers. Life inside Prison seems to be very orderly with clean roads, green cover and even activities to engage their disturbed mind. But will they be reformed enough to never repeat their crime, I strongly don’t feel so.”
Commissioner of Police AK Viswanathan congratulated Apsara and spoke extensively on the many forward-thinking policies of the Police Department. He said, “The POCSO ACT or Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act has served as a catalyst for us as a Police Department to mobilize society’s social service, mental health, medical, education, legal, and law enforcement resources to address the challenges in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.”
Vetrimaran who said “Death Penalty is not the answer”, agreed with Apsara that, “We must look at ways to preventing these criminals from repeating their crimes and also find a permanent solution to either keep them in gainful employment in a monitored environment or setting right their mental state. But solitary confinement or death penalty is never the answer.”