Telangana: Life-Sentenced Ex-Maoist Earns Third Master’s Degree | Hyderabad News

HYDERABAD: From armed Maoist convicted of murdering MP in Ongole to becoming a triple master, PBV, 56 Ganesh, took a giant leap from guerrilla warfare to college success. On Saturday, he was among 14 inmates of Cherlapally prison, who received their master’s degree at the 24th convocation ceremony of the city’s Dr BR Ambedkar Open University.
Ganesh, who was sentenced to life for having shot then the deputy of Ongole, Magunta Subbarami Reddy, in 1995, received a master’s degree in psychology. He has already obtained two master’s degrees in sociology and political science from the same university during his prison term.
“I just want to be with my family. If I am discharged this year, I will pursue a doctorate in political science or psychology,” said Ganesh, who was accompanied by his wife at the graduation ceremony. He was just a 27-year-old physics graduate when he shot the deputy and was later given a life sentence.
Ganesh was not the only proud student in Cherlapally prison. Joining him in the celebrations was 38 Amer Mohamed Jamal, another sentenced to life. “It’s a proud day for my family. My father would have been delighted if he was alive,” Jamal said.
He said: “We are an academically inclined family and my father was an Arabic teacher at Osmania University. I completed BTech from Muffakham Jah College and worked in tech companies, before landing behind bars. I hope to do my doctorate to fulfill my father’s dream.”
He is now a faculty member at Cherlapally Prison and teaches organizational psychology.
While for Ganesh and Jamal the degree helped them further their education, it was a first-of-its-kind experience for a 29-year-old. Dr Santosh Kumar, who hopes to find a job once free. After being convicted of murder at the age of 18, he completed his education in prison.
“I went to appeal and hope to get out one day. I want to teach Telugu to children and earn a living,” he says.
They were among the first group of Indian masters (psychology) students, who graduated remotely, despite the challenges of lab work.
“This is the first time that we have offered a master’s degree (psychology) to inmates in Telangana prison. In 2018, the then director general of prisons, VK Singh, set up a fully operational psychology laboratory, where experiments and research were conducted in prison. Since then, as many as 26 students in two batches have graduated and a new batch is continuing the course,” said Prof. Beena Chintalapuri, Ashoka Fellow and Professor Emeritus, who is the course coordinator.
“Inmates from other prisons who take the course are transferred to Cherlapally central prison for a four-month practical experience,” the course coordinator added.

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