Thane Fort to the Thane Central Jail

THANE FORT TO THE THANE CENTRAL JAIL: A TRANSITION AND PRESENT SITUATION – VAIBHAV D. ADHYARU K. V. PENDHARKAR COLLEGE OF ARTS, SCIENCE AND COMMERCE, DOMBIVLI, MAHARASHTRA, India. THANE FORT TO THE THANE CENTRAL JAIL: A TRANSITION AND PRESENT SITUATION The existence of Thane city appears in the global history since the 9thcentury A. D. Thane city has a rich cultural heritage, mythological background, followed by a large number of events of historical importance, archeological collectives that have contributed to the enrichment of the history of Thane city.

The city was then known as ‘Shreesthanak’. The Thane Central Jail, originally a historical fort was constructed by Portuguese in 1730 A. D. The prison, which was earlier a fort named Thane Killa, is associated with the Indian Freedom Struggle and is also one of the heritage structures of the city. The 279 year old monument was constructed by the Portuguese for the protection of Sashti Island on 13. 5 acres of land. The Portuguese ruled Thane for over 200 years, from 1530 to 1739 A. D. During this period Thane was known as ‘Kalabe De Tana”.

In January 1737, Chimaji Appa, the Peshwa’s brother, took command of the Marathas troops and inspite of obstinate resistance, captured most of the northern forts, Katalvada, Dahanu, Kelve, Shirgaon and Tarapur, whose walls were scaled by the Marathas. On May 4th, the Portuguese hoisted the white flag and of their officers met Chimaji Appa for arranging terms of surrender. On 28th December, 1744 the British conquered Thane city and its fort. Marathas lost the Third Anglo-Maratha War in November 1817 between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.

The war left the company in control of most of India. British Victories were swift, resulting in the breakup of the Maratha Empire and the loss of Maratha independence. The Peshwa was defeated in the Battles of Khadki and Koregaon and he was forced to flee. It was converted into jail in 1816 by the British. When Britishers got controlled all over the entire India, they started to use the Thane fort as central jail so that they can arrest and jail the nearby freedom fighters, criminals for going against their system. Many well known freedom fighters were imprisoned in this jail during the time.

On 19th April, 1910 noted freedom fighters like Veer Anant Laxman Kanhere, Gopal Krishnaji Karve and Vinayak Narayan Deshpande were hanged to death in the central jail for killing the then Nasik District Collector Jackson. Noted freedom fighter Veer Savarkar was also imprisoned in central jail but later he was shifted to Andaman Cellular Jail due to the security reasons. Other freedom fighters like Chaphekar Brother and Mahadev Ranade were hanged for killing W. C. Rand for his atrocities in Poona. Prominent freedom fighters like Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Senapati Bapat, Saneguruji were also lodged in this jail.

Later Indian Government continued that fort to be used Thane Central Jail as a district jail to jail the criminals of Thane District. Thane Central Jail is a huge campus and having different departments for the upliftment of the criminals. Personalities like Harshad Mehta and Sanjay Dutt were also imprisoned at Thane Central Jail. Various departments have been working efficiently for the smooth functioning of the Jail:- The Superintendent, Thane District Prison, is vested with the executive management of the prison in all matters relating to internal discipline, economy, labour and punishment.

The Superintendent is assisted by the executive, medical, ministerial and technical staff. CLASSIFICATION:- There is one district prison and eleven taluka sub-jails in Thane District. The prison at Thane has been classified as a district prison [Class I], This prison is only meant for the confinement of the under trial prisoners and prisoners sentenced upto 5 years. CLASSFICATION OF PRISONERS:- Prisoners are classified as class I or class II by the court after taking into consideration their status in society and also the nature of offence. They are further classified as casual, habitual, under-trial and security or detenue.

There is no separate class of political prisoners but certain rules which do not allow the grant of facilities and privileges on the score of length of sentence are relaxed in their favour under the specific orders of government. On admission, a prisoner is examined by the medical officer and is classified as fit for light, medium and hard labour. Prisoners are employed in prison industries, prison farms and prison maintenance services. Vocational classes are also organized in the prison. EDUCATION:- Literacy classes are conducted for prisoners and necessary facilities are provided to prisoners at government cost.

RECREATIONAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES:- Recreational programmes like physical training parades, documentary and full length films, folk dances, kalapathak and games are organized for the entertainment of prisoners generally in a month. Besides, newspapers are also supplied to the prisoners. Emphasis is always laid on the maintenance of good discipline in the prison. JAIL INDUSTRY:- The long term prisoners in Thane Central Prison are provided with creative work including handicrafts and industries. The chief of these industries include textile, carpentary and tailoring. Most of the products are supplied to various government departments.

The tailoring unit in the jail supplies readymade garments to the post and telegraph department and to the police. COTTON CLOTH AND CARPETS:- Weaving is the chief industry in the jail. There are around 14 looms for manufacturing carpets, blankets etc. CARPET AND PUNJA CARPETS:- Carpets are woven on pit-looms and are called loom carpets. The workers or prisoners move on horizontally as the weaving process goes on, completing the carpet. It is in great demand both from government and in the public. CARPENTARY:- This section is worked on job basis. A group of two or three prisoners do the planning and assembling job. CONCLUSION:-

In this way Thane Central Jail administers work of the inmates/prisoners, So that the prisoners develop their skills through the routine work. Historically important memo i. e. martyrs memorials are not open for the citizens. There memo may be the inspiration for the citizens so it may create awareness about the national movement. Hence, it is necessary to make them accessible for the citizens. The present day physical condition of the jail is not in proper condition, so it should be repaired properly as soon as possible to maintain the condition of the jail. However, today the fort is a very busy place on account of being a jail.

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