Problem of plenty

about 5 months ago
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Talk about prisons, and the one image which immediately pops into the mind is a place that is cramped up with too many inmates. Space is a major issue with most prisons across India; sadly a reflection of the rate of crime in India but more importantly, it depicts the state of the judicial system, where majority prisoners are under trials.

But lack of space does not seem to be the issue with this undertrial in the 427-year old, Portugese built fort prison in Diu. In fact, too much space is the real problem.

Deepak Kanji is alone in a room for 20, with a TV (tuned into only DD and spiritual channels), blanket, water container and 50 sq metres of empty space. The 30-year-old is the only inmate of Diu’s heritage site / fort / only jail. After the undertrial moves out, the prison will shut and management of the fortification will revert to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).Food comes from a restaurant close by.

The ASI put in a proposal in 2013 that this place needs to become a historical, tourism site. Since then the emptying process was initiated and Kanji is the sole one, waiting for his verdict.  He was arrested in December for allegedly trying to poison his wife.

His only ‘social’ interaction is a two-hour walk in the evening with the cops; that is the only time he actually talks to another human.

Yes, a rare problem indeed; rare for a country like India where space is a luxury!

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