A prison with a rich heritage

A prison with a rich heritage


THE BARRACKS:The Alipore jail, which hosted many freedomfighters, was upgraded into a central jail in 1905.

Even as these greats served their terms, it was a time when they decided the future course of the freedom struggle. Today, the prison cells that they occupied lie vacant, and a dark brooding silence prevails.

Some of the structures in the jail have crumbled. Some others have been renovated and occupied by the government. The Government Medical College (VIMS), and the Leprosy Hospital function out of the prison. It is almost impossible to believe today that such notable personalities stayed here at one point in time.

Madras Presidency

During the British rule, Bellary was part of the Madras Presidency. Bellary was the administrative capital of four districts back then, including Bellary, Ananthapur, Cuddapah and Kurnool. A plan was chalked out in 1866 towards construction of a prison. But, the project was shifted to Vellore. Later, in 1905, the district jail was upgraded into a central jail.

In effect, the Alipore central jail started working from 1921. The army barracks adjoining the jail were also converted into prison cells.

The jail could hold 2,500 people, but eventually, as many as 4,000 prisoners were crammed in, both common criminals and political prisoners put together.

It is said that Anglo-Turk war criminals were also housed in this jail. Some of the Turkish prisoners who died while serving sentences here, were even buried in Bellary. Among the memorials of those Turks who died here is the tombstone of a Turkish prince Abdul Salaah Aghabasha.

The Alipore jail was closed in 1958. Then, it was converted into a Government College by the state government. The prisoners’ barracks were soon converted into residences for doctors of the Medical College. The Leprosy Hospital here was built to take care of ailing prisoners.

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