MEERUT: Two months after the Supreme Court slammed states on overcrowding in jails, Uttar Pradesh government has decided to set up a dozen gaushalas (cowsheds) in 12 jails of the state. Inspector general (prisons) Chandra Prakash said, “In all, 12 cowsheds will be set up in the state, including two in western UP.” According to sources in the office of DG (prisons), Rs 2 crore have been allocated initially for this. Notably, UP prisons are massively overcrowded, holding over 60% more than the permissible capacity of inmates, revealed an RTI reply last year.
In the first phase, 12 districts where gaushalas will be established include Gorakhpur, Sultanpur, Kanpur (rural), Balrampur, Firozabad, Kannauj, Agra, Barabanki, Sitapur, Rai Bareilly, Meerut and Gautam Budh Nagar.
According to Prakash, “The provision is to have 28 cows in each jail which will be looked after by the jail inmates.” Activists, on the other hand, feel that decongestion in prisons must be the top priority. According to Vartika Nanda, a Delhi-based prison reformer, “We are not
against cowsheds, but the government must also work seriously towards decongestion of these jails which are operating at more than 150% of their capacity.”
On May 13, the Supreme Court had expressed concern about overcrowding in jails across the country and termed it as “violation of human rights”.“There are several prisons where the overcrowding is well beyond 100% and in some cases it exceeds 150%,” a bench of justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta had said.
However, the IG (prisons) said, “Cowshed issue is separate from that of overcrowding. For that, seven jails are currently under various stages of construction in different districts of UP.”
Courtesy – The Times Of India
Image Courtesy – DNA India