Maharashtra: Government plans to start tourism in prisons with historic heritage

Updated: 01 October, 2020 08:07 IST | Vishal Singh | Mumbai

Prisons Department picks five jails with historic value for this; at first, only schoolchildren, teachers, historians will be allowed

Swatantryaveer  Savarkar, Vasudev Balwant Phadke and Anant Kanhere were kept in Thane jail. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Swatantryaveer Savarkar, Vasudev Balwant Phadke and Anant Kanhere were kept in Thane jail. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

The state government plans to start jail tourism in prisons in the cities of Nashik, Thane, Dhule, Yerawada and Ratnagiri, which have historical heritage. Mahatma Gandhi, Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and many other freedom fighters were imprisoned in these jails during the Independence struggle. The state plans to allow school children, teachers, researchers and historians to see them, to learn about the stay of these leaders in jail. These tours will be free. If successful, the tours will be opened for others.

There are 43 jails under the state Prisons Department. Jail tourism was introduced in Telangana, and borrowing the idea, Maharashtra will have the same programme. The Prisons Department has sent a proposal to the Home Department for the same. It has selected Thane, Yerawada, Dhule, Ratnagiri and Nashik jails for tourism.

Jails with history

Yerwada Jail in Pune is one of the largest prisons in South Asia. Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Swatantryaveer Savarkar and Sarojini Naidu were jailed here.

Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Swatantryaveer Savarkar  and Sarojini Naidu were jailed at Yerwada Jail in Pune. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Swatantryaveer Savarkar and Sarojini Naidu were jailed at Yerwada Jail in Pune. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

A fort built in Thane city in 1730 by the Portuguese was captured by the British in 1744 and converted into a prison. During the Independence struggle, Swatantryaveer Savarkar, Vasudev Balwant Phadke and Anant Kanhere were kept in this, Thane jail. Prisoners were also taken by boat from the back gate of the prison to Andaman and Nicobar for punishment.

While Vinoba Bhave wrote Geetai when he was imprisoned in Dhule Jail, the barracks where Swatantraveer Savarkar and Senapati Bapat were kept in Ratnagiri Jail are also preserved.

Nashik Road Central Prison was built in 1927, and many freedom fighters like Sane Guruji and Senapati Bapat were detained here.
Prison ADG Sunil Ramanand said that from 12 noon to 3 pm, when the barracks are locked, then students, historians and researchers can take the tours which will be free.

He said, "The concept of prison tourism will be implemented in five prisons which have historical heritage. School children and researchers will be able to see them. The project will be launched once the proposal is approved."

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First Published: 01 October, 2020 05:34 IST

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