Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to be inside a jail? If yes, well it’s good news for you.
Maharashtra government has decided to start “Jail Tourism”, beginning from the famous 150-year old Yerawada Jail, Pune.
The initiative was inaugurated on 26th January, the Republic Day of India, at the Yerawada Jail itself.
The “Jail Tour”
The initiative was announced by Maharashtra’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. According to Deshmukh, this will enable students and any common history enthusiast to explore and experience the historic jails and important events that took place there. Currently, only some famous jails have been chosen for display.
On 26th January 2021, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the “Jail Tourism” event at Yerawada Central Jail, Pune through video conference. During the inauguration, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar was physically present at the jail premises.
Why The “Yerawada Jail” As The First Jail Tour
Under the British, many of our Indian independence fighters, like Lokmanya Tilak, Motilal Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Sarojini Naidu, Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi had been imprisoned at the Yerawada Jail.
The area where these historical leaders lived during their imprisonment duration is preserved. The cell where Gandhiji stayed is known as the Gandhi Yard. This yard is the exact place where the famous Poona Pact was signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Interestingly, the mango tree under which these two leaders held discussions, is very much still standing in the Gandhi Yard.
The jail also has a “Faasi yard”, where the death sentence of many famous as well as infamous people had been executed. Ajmal Kasab, the convict of Mumbai 26/11 Taj attacks, was the last execution to take place at the Faasi yard and is buried inside the jail site.
Visitor’s Security Inside The Jail
One of the main concerns will be the safety and security of the visitors. Yerawada Jail at present contains many prisoners from numerous noteworthy cases – both convicted and under-trial. It also has convicts on death row, thus Yerawada is a maximum security facility.
The main focal points of the tour – Gandhi Yard, Tilak Yard and the Fassi yard – are present just as one enters the jail gates, away from the actual cells and the high-security area.
Also, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, initially at max 50 people are allowed to visit the jail every day. Furthermore, guides will be present to enlighten the visitors about the historic importance of the jail. At the moment, the ticket prices for school students are Rs. 5, for college students, it is Rs. 10 and for general visitors, it is Rs. 50.
According to the state’s Home Minister Deshmukh, later the jail tourism will also include other notable jails of Maharashtra like the Thane, Nashik, Dhule and Ratnagiri jails.
On the day of the “Jail Tour” inauguration, students from a local school in Pune became the first group to tour inside the jail.
A similar initiative was planned by the administration of Delhi’s Tihar Jail in 2019. The plan was to let common people explore Asia’s biggest prison system. However, the programme is yet to be finalised by the Union Home Ministry.
Image Sources: Google Images
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