Maharashtra now offers prison tourism!

DELHI: Amid a growing fad of ‘jail tourism’ around the world, Maharashtra is said to be planning to open its jails to people looking for a taste of history.

According to a Times of India report, officials in the state’s home department are working on a ‘jail tourism policy’ that will “allow access to some jails in the state for common people”.

One might want to revisit the annals of history and see what tales these jails have kept behind their iron bars, says Business Standard.

At present, Maharashtra has more than 200 jails working under the prison structure of India that is bifurcated into central, district, women, juvenile (borstal), open, special and sub and other categories. Among these, there are five jails where the tales of the damned echo the damp corridors.

Business Standard brings a quick look at why tourists should visit some of these jails:

Yerwada Cenrtal Jail, Pune: It is the jail in South Asia, with more than 3,600 inmates. Built under the British rule in 1871, it has at different times housed many prominent leaders of the country’s freedom struggle, such as Mahatama Gandhi and Vinayak Savarkar, former Prime Minsiter Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and more recently, actor Sanjay Dutt.

Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai: Built in 1926, it is Mumbai’s largest and oldest prison that has a capacity to lodge over 2,000 prisoners. What makes this confinement centre unique is its location. Unlike other prisons that are consciously located off city limits, the central jail at Arthur road is located at the heart of the city and is surrounded by a residential area. Ensuring security and preventing a jail break is, therefore, a challenge for jail authorities dealing with hardened criminals like the Mumbai 26/11 attack’s prime accused, Ajmal Kasab, who was housed here.

Harsul Central Jail: Also known as the Aurangabad Central Jail, the number of inmates here is in excess of its capacity – 1,600 prisoners. The jail is well known for selling prison-made products in the outside market. The initiative is part of the measures taken by jail authorities in collaboration with non-profit organisations, to provide inmates earning opportunities.

Nagpur Central Jail: The prison will be remembered as the place where the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict, Yakub Memon, was hanged in July 2015. In a first in judicial history, Memon was hanged two hours after the Supreme Court held a hearing. He was the first convict to be hanged in the jail in three decades.

Amravati District Jail: Established in 1886 to act as a confinement centre for habitual prisoners and those who were under trial, it is said to have earned a reputation in notoriety under Superintendent Harvey in the 1930s. Harvey is believed to have committed enormous atrocities against political prisoners during the freedom struggle.


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