The ‘Kaher’ of Corona pandemic is sweeping the country. So, it’s necessitated the release of prisoners from the overcrowded jails, where spreading of COVID-19 is much likely. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced that over 17,000 of the more than 35,000 prisoners to be released soon. These 17,000 inmates are in the 60 jails located in 45 places in Maharashtra.
“The decision came after 158 inmates of the Arthur Road Jail have tested positive for Covid-19. We decided to prevent contagion from spreading to other inmates and staff,” Home Minister said.
He further added, “A process is already underway to release 5,105 undertrials facing sentences of less than seven years. They will be provided temporary bail. 3,017 convicts will be given an emergency parole.”
Mr Deshmukh said that ‘this’ decision will see 9,520 undertrials facing a jail term of over seven years. This will take the total number of inmates released to 17, 642. However, he clarified that “Those charged under MCOCA, TADA, POTA, UAPA, PMLA, NDPS, MPID, Explosive Substances Act will not be released. Also, prisons in Anti hijacking Act, POCSO, Foreigners in Prison, bank fraud, major financial scams will not get this benefit etc.”
Eight Prisons will be lockdown
Deshmukh also informed that the Central prisons of Mumbai, Thane, Yerwada and Nashik will all be under complete lockdown. The district prisons of Byculla, Kalyan, Aurangabad and Nagpur will also be under total lockdown. “Neither will a new inmate be sent to these facilities, nor will anyone be sent out. Even, staff we be kept 24×7 in shifting till the impact of the pandemic loss it rhythm,” said Home Minister Deshmukh.
The Home Minister urged the collectors to look for alternate spaces where inmates can be shifted so that the mandatory social distancing can be maintained.