By Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan
MATHURA: Have you heard of a female execution room? Yes, there is one and it is not very far from the national capital - just 150 kms away in Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna, but hardly anyone knows about it.
The story of this hanging room which is the only one in the country, was built during the British rule in 1870 inside the Mathura Jail. The only mention of this hanging room in India can be found in the UP Jail Manual, 1956, which lays out elaborate rules for the execution of women convicts on death row. The jail is situated near Jawahar Bagh which witnessed a bloody struggle in 2016 between the police and members of the little-known armed sect led by Ramvriksh Yadav who called themselves followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and campaigned for a bizarre set of demands.
According to the UP prison manual, the Mathura Jail was established in 1870, about 150 years ago. Along with the jail, a women's execution room was also built inside the prison walls, confirmed by the present senior jail superintendent Shailendra Kumar Maitreya.
Uttar Pradesh currently has 62 jails, with the latest being inaugurated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Ambedkar Nagar. So far as the Mathura jail is concerned, it has a capacity of 554 inmates but houses more than 1600 inmates. For a capacity of 30 women prisoners, more than 100 of them are in this jail. Being overcrowded the jail is suffering from a number of problems. "Only women convicts on death row will be hanged here. This has been specifically mentioned in the jail manual," said SSP Maitreya. When asked if he has ever visited the hanging room of the prison, Maitreya said, "I never visited the execution room. There is hardly anything left there. Doors have broken down, walls have withered. Bushes and shrubs have grown there. The iron lever of the gallows has also rusted over a period of time." In fact, no one has been hanged till date here so it was never used, he said. (IANS)