Soon, pay to experience life behind bars in Tihar jail
The officer said they conceived the idea last year after receiving several requests to visit the prison via mails via mails. Another jail officer, who did not wish to be named, said there were many requests people of other countries too.Updated: Feb 23, 2019 10:16 IST
The country’s largest and most overcrowded prison complex will soon open its gates to tourists and those who wish to pay and spend a day behind bars.
The construction of accommodation facilities, in the form of cells, where one can spend a day and live the life of a prisoner, has been completed. The state government’s project — Feel Like Jail — could start any time now. A jail spokesperson said the project file has been sent to the state home department for approval before being opened for tourists.
On March 1, 2018, Hindustan Times was the first to report about the prison officials who had planned to start the facility. “We have built about five-six cells with attached toilet and bathroom within the prison compound. It has been built in the compound of the prison headquarters. We have already conducted the safety audit. One will be separated from the inmates by the high prison walls. They will not interact with prisoners,” said a jail official, who has worked on the project from the start.
The officer said they conceived the idea last year after receiving several requests to visit the prison via mails via mails. Another jail officer, who did not wish to be named, said there were many requests people of other countries too. “There is a curiosity about life inside Tihar prison. There were many families from outside Delhi who wrote emails wishing to visit the jail. The facility could be part of Delhi Tourism. Most probably, the booking will be made online through the Delhi Tourism website. This could start anytime,” the officer maintained.
With over 15,000 prisoners, living the prison complex spread over 400 acres, Tihar Jail houses some of the country’s most notorious prisoners. The jail has inmates such as terrorist and Indian Mujahideen founder Yasin Bhatkal, gangsters Chhota Rajan and Neeraj Bawana, and don-turned-politician Shahabuddin. It also housed infamous prisoners such as serial killer Charles Sobhraj.
“After paying the admission fee, the guests, who will be locked up, have to sleep on the floor. They will get a set of prison clothes and will have to eat jail food. They will be assigned work outside their cells. The job could include something like grinding wheat, which other prisoners do,” the officer said.
The Telangana government had started a similar programme in 2016. The tourist there did not share the walls with the prisoners. A 220-year-old jail at Sangareddy, which had been converted into a museum in June 2016, was opened for visitors as part of the state government’s tourism drive for R500 per day.