Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. (HT Photo)
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. (HT Photo)

Maharashtra CM inaugurates jail tourism in Pune

  • Yerawada Central Jail had been home to freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, among others.
By Shalaka Shinde, Pune
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2021 10:27 PM IST

The "jail tourism" initiative was inaugurated by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray through video conferencing at Pune's Yerawada Central Jail on Tuesday. Deputy CM Ajit Pawar was present at the prison premises on the occasion of 72nd Republic Day.

The launch of the event was done by 10 students from Genba Sopanrao Moze Vidyalay, chaperoned by three teachers, and were among the first few tourists at the jail premise.

“Now one doesn’t need to commit a crime to visit the jail. Instead of “jail bharo”, people can now indulge in “jail firo”. This book by Balasaheb Thackeray describes the jails of yesteryears often described as containers with phenyl, aluminium cutlery with some space to sleep. That cutlery served all kinds of purposes,” said Uddhav Thackeray while speaking through video conference.

He also reminisced the historical importance of the jail premise where the revolutionary Chapekar brothers were sent to the gallows for the murder of British official WC Rand and his security escort for their brutalities on citizens of Pune during the plague in the 1890s. The same yard where the Chapekar brothers were hung for their crimes was also where Ajmal Kasab, convicted in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, was hanged to death.

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“Nana Patole and Aditya Thackeray had spoken about expanding tourism in Maharashtra only days before this proposal was put forth. State home minister Anil Deshmukh came up with the unique idea and came to my house one fine day to put it across. ADG (prisons) Sunil Ramanand told me about the places where various freedom fighters were imprisoned. 150 years is not a short period. Even today, it is a specimen of an architecture. Balasaheb Thackeray had also been to this jail. He had written to Late Meena Tai. I happened to come across that letter recently,” said Ajit Pawar.

The prison had been home to freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Motilal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during the freedom struggle of India.

"We visited the Gandhi yard, Nehru yard, the fashi (hanging) yard, and witnessed the history that we teach our children. It was an experience that brought those lessons to life," said Nathu Jagdale, teacher at Moze school.

Local legislator Sunil Tingre, divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao, district collector Rajesh Deshmukh, ADGP (prison) Sunil Ramanand, and police commissioner Amitabh Gupta were also present during the inauguration.

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