UP: 12 New Guashalas to come up in overcrowded prisons

Meerut: UP government has set up a dozen gaushalas (cowsheds) in 12 jails in the state just two months after the Supreme Court slashed the States authorities for overcrowding the Jails.

Confirming the set up of gaushalas, Inspector general (prisons) Chandra Prakash said, “In all, 12 cowsheds will be set up in the state, including two in western UP,” TOI reported.

Rs 2 Crores of money was allocated for the set-up of Gaushalas said a source, even though prisons are usually overcrowded with inmates which hold more than 60% of permissible capacity, revealed an RTI reply.

The sources revealed in the first phase of the set-up, Gorakhpur, Sultanpur, Kanpur (rural), Balrampur, Firozabad, Kannauj, Agra, Barabanki, Sitapur, Rai Bareilly, Meerut and Gautam Budh Nagar are among the 12 districts chosen for the set-up.

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.
While activists feel this decongestion of prisons should be the priority before setting up any new gaushalas.

Delhi-based prison reformer Vartika Nanda, “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.”

The Apex Court on May 13, observed overcrowding prison inmates 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, contrary to that 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.”