Leading jeweller spends a day in ‘jail’ without committing crime

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Hyderabad, Feb 6 (IANS) Leading jeweler Boby Chemmanur joined the growing list of tourists spending a day in a jail in Telangana to experience the life behind the bars.

After two tourists flew in all the way from Malaysia last week to spend a day in colonial-era jail in the state’s Sangareddy town, the Chemmanur International Jewellers Group chairman paid Rs 500 to get a first-hand experience of prison life.

The businessman from Kerala along with his three friends spent 24 hours in 220-year-old Sangareddy District Central Jail which has been converted into a museum by Telangana’s Tourism Department along with the Prison Department for their innovative “feel the jail” programme.

Boby wanted to know in person the vagaries of life in jail in his home state. “My friends who are police officials told me, I should commit a crime to be in jail. So, I could not go there. However, thanks to the Telangana Prisons Department, I could fulfil my dream,” he said.

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The businessman said they had to follow all rules applicable to prisoners. They were served the same food given to prisoners and were not allowed to carry mobile phones.

“For Boby who is heading Rs 4,000 crore business group, philanthropy is as important as building business and no wonder that he chose to spend a day to get the feel of the jail where thousands of people languish. Last year, he undertook a world record breaking marathon (812 km), across the length of Kerala with a motto of creating the world’s largest blood bank,” said a statement from the group on Tuesday.

During the stay, the inmates are provided with a prison uniform made of khadi, a steel meal plate and glass, a mug besides washing soap, bathing soap, bedding, fan and other facilities as per state prison manual.

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The visiting ‘prisoners’ have to clean their barracks and are free to plant saplings during their stay, the official said.

The District Central jail was constructed in 1796 during the rule of Nizam of then princely state of Hyderabad. After using the facility for over 216 years, a new jail was constructed at another place in the town and the inmates were shifted in 2012. The heritage jail spreads over three acres and has nine barracks in male wing and one in the female wing.

In 2016, the authorities converted it into jail museum. According the officials, 15-20 persons are visiting the jail museum every day but only few tourists have availed the facility to stay.

Last week, Malaysian nationals – Ng Inn Wo, a dentist, and Ong Boon Tek, a businessman spent a day in this jail to experience the life in detention. They were the first foreign tourists to stay in the heritage jail.

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–IANS

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