Over 3000 inmates are packed like sardines at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai. The authorities now plan to move them to Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai

Over 3000 inmates packed like sardines at Arthur Road jail in Mumbai

Dec 12 • Human Rights, Mumbai News, News • 2926 Views • No Comments



By Flynn Remedios for Newz66.com | 12th December, 2013


In a case of gross abuse of Human Rights norms over 3000 inmates most of them under trials arrested for petty crimes are packed like sardines and crammed into the old Arthur Road jail also known as the Mumbai Central Prison.
Arthur Road Jail was originally built (by the British) to accommodate about 800 prisoners. At the most, it has the capacity to house 1074 inmates. But it currently hold more than 3000 inmates on some “bad days”. Many inmates stay for only few days as they are released by the courts on bail. The  Arthur Road jail has had the distinction of housing some of the most infamous under-trails, including 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

According to a report by Manish K Pathak in the DNA, with the Arthur Road Jail becoming more and more crowded by the day, the jail administration has now decided to shift around 1,000 of its 3,000 inmates to the more spacious Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai.  A list of inmates is currently being prepared and some inmates are expected to be moved to the new location in January says Pathak writing for DNA.

Confirming the development, superintendent of police SV Achkme of Taloja jail said, “We have started preparing a list of the inmates and plan to shift around 1,000 inmates here. Two barracks are lying vacant, which can accommodate  around 400 to 500 prisoners.”

In 2012, a similar initiative had been taken by the then Inspector General of Police (prisons), Surendra Kumar, as there were around 2,600 inmates at Arthur Road Jail. He had shifted around 300 of those inmates to Taloja jail. Apart from this, he had prepared a list of around 500 inmates whose trial had been kept on a priority basis. Eventually, many of these undertrials were convicted by the courts and were moved to other jails across Maharashtra. This helped clear space in the prisons and brought down the number of inmates to 1,800.

A prison source said, “In one-and-a-half years, the jail has again become crowded, due to which jail authorities are forced to cram as many prisoners into a cell as possible.”

Prison authorities have been preparing a list of prisoners arrested recently, as their trail will begin in a year or more.

“We have made a plan to reduce the number of inmates here and have prepared a list of around 200 inmates. After the court order comes through, we will start shifting them to Taloja jail in the first week of January. We are also trying to figure out which other inmates — whose trial will begin in a year or more — could be shifted,” said an Arthur Road Jail authority.

Superintendent of police, BD Burkule of Arthur Road Jail, said, “As soon as we get permission from the court, we will shift the inmates because Arthur Road Jail has become too crowded.”

In spite of this admission by the jail authorities at the highest level, under trials are made to suffer untold hardships and lack of basic sanitary amenities which is guaranteed to undertrials by the Constitution of India and various judgements of the High Courts from time to time.

Authorities take their own sweet time to enforce even existing court orders, say sources.


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