The Maharashtra government is set to launch “jail tourism” under which historically significant jails in Maharashtra, which are still being used as penal centres, will be opened to visitors to see the barracks where freedom fighters were imprisoned by the British.
“Pune’s Yerawada Jail will be opened for first-of-its-kind jail tourism from January 26,” said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
Mr. Deshmukh said freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Motilal Nehru, Lokmanya Tilak and Subhas Chandra Bose were imprisoned by the British in different jails in Maharashtra during the freedom struggle.
“Thane, Nasik, Dhule, Pune, Ratnagiri are a few places in Maharashtra where these great freedom fighters were imprisoned by British. All these jails have a significant historical value. The barracks where these great personalities were kept are preserved as memorials which remind us the dedication of these personalities in winning freedom,” the Minister said.
On Republic Day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, will inaugurate the project at Yerawada Jail.
“The famous Poona Pact between Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi took place beneath a mango tree at Yerawada jail. In 1899, the Chapekar brothers were given death sentence in this jail. Schools, colleges, educational institutions will be given the chance to see these historic places under the jail tourism project,” he said, adding that no outsiders have been allowed on these premises so far.
Terrorists Jinda and Sukha, who murdered General Vaidya, and Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab were all hanged in the same jail.
Mr. Deshmukh said tourists will be provided with a guide and the number of visitors will be restricted to 50 a day. Those who want to visit should apply online to the Yerawada Jail Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com on a institution’s letter head including names of visitors, stating the purpose of the visit.