Tuesday, June 29, 1999 Published at 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
World: South Asia
Indian prisoners beg to fight
Bangalore prisoners are keen to sign up for the life of a soldier
By Habib Beary in Bangalore
The superintendent of Bangalore jail has said he has received written requests from at least 50 prisoners asking to fight in Kashmir against what India calls Pakistan-backed infiltrators.
The prisoners, some of whom are serving serving terms of life imprisonment, say they would rather die fighting for the country than rot in prison.
The Indian Army is locked in a bitter battle to flush out infiltrators in the Kargil and Drass areas of Kashmir.
Francis Coutinho, in jail for murder, said he thinks he would be able to do something good for the country if he is sent to fight the infiltrators.
Similar views were expressed by fellow inmate, Murgesh.
The authorities, however, have not yet taken a decision on the issue.