Kerala

Renovated Jail of Freedom Struggle opened at Fort Kochi

The  Jail Museum, also known as Jail of Freedom Struggle, at Fort Kochi on Sunday.

The  Jail Museum, also known as Jail of Freedom Struggle, at Fort Kochi on Sunday. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The Jail Museum at Fort Kochi, also known as Jail of Freedom Struggle, which was renovated by Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) and has eight cells where a host of freedom fighters from the State were imprisoned, was opened to the public on Sunday evening by Minister for Industries and Law P. Rajeeve.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the jail’s history is closely linked to the freedom struggle. Many freedom fighters like A.K. Gopalan, Abdul Rahiman Sahib and a host of others were detained here. There is no other occasion than the 75 th year of Indian Independence to throw open the renovated structure.

Going back in time, Mr. Rajeeve said many freedom fighters had the fortune of unfurling the Tricolour from the jail on the morning that India won freedom. They included A.K. Gopalan who went on to address jail wardens from Kannur jail. Many jails, including the ones where Mahatma Gandhi had been imprisoned, are an indelible part of history. Fort Kochi and mainland Kochi too witnessed such struggles to get freedom from British rule.

In his presidential address, Minister for Local Self-Government M.V. Govindan spoke of how the British colonialists built jails in different areas to detain freedom fighters, before sending them to jails located in remote locations.

Delayed projects

Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden said the images of freedom fighters like Abdul Rahiman Sahib and K.J. Hershel, which were removed from the jail premises, must be restored at the earliest. He expressed concern at many road and allied works undertaken by CSML in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry suffering inordinate delay, even as the tourist season is round the corner.

The Secretary of Fort Kochi Heritage Conservation Society, Boney Thomas, sought steps to renovate heritage structures next to the jail compound and to display materials of historic importance in the open space next to the jail cells. Referring to a study that the heritage society has undertaken on augmenting value additions in the museum, he said a blueprint of this would be presented at the next meeting of the society.

Mayor M. Anilkumar, K.J. Maxi, MLA, and CEO of CSML Shanavas S. were among those who spoke.

The jail museum had been renovated a decade ago using tourism funds.

The CSML further restored the entire structure and also built an elevated open stage having cobble stone floor and heritage-looking pillars, all the while adhering to green restoration principles, as part of doing up open spaces at Fort Kochi and Mattanchery. Smart-road projects in the heritage locale will conclude by December, official sources said.


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 1:29:56 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/renovated-jail-of-freedom-struggle-opened-at-fort-kochi/article65769552.ece