Mumbai: Sadanand Gaikwad, 58, the superintendent of Byculla women's jail, who was the security in-charge of Ajmal Amir Kasab at Arthur Road Jail, retired on Friday.
Gaikwad on his retirement day shared his experience about how he was given the task of preparing a highly secured cell at barrack number 12 in Arthur Road for Kasab. "It was a great experience in my career. The cell was prepared within a month. All were under my supervision from meeting to food. I kept my trusted men to monitor the movement and security of the cell. I never used to allow anyone to meet," he added.
Gaikwad, who joined the prison department on February 28, 1990, had worked in most of the district and central jails in his 31 years of service. Yerwada Central Jail, Mumbai Central Jail, Training Centre, Kolhapur, Satara, Alibaug, Taloja and Byculla among others.
The lockdown imposed by the government was also a new experience being a superintendent of Byculla jail. "Making arrangements for staff to stay inside to counsel the inmates who were panicking after the threat of the virus was a different experience altogether. We counsel them about the dangerous spread of the virus and bring a stable environment inside. As every other inmate wanted to be released on bail," he added.
Gaikwad further learned about the inmates' problems during the lockdown and started telephonic conversations for them with family. "The visiting and meeting was closed. So Byculla Jail was the first to arrange the telephonic conversation. Later, the money order by post was stopped. So we carried an online money transfer for them. We used to contact the family and give them the bank account number of the jail for money transfer. It helps us calm the inmates who were relaxed after talking with the family," added Gaikwad.
The woman inmates would wait for him to share their problems. They called him 'Papa' as he never treated them as inmates and always used to help them in their problem," said Tejeshree Wahaval, jailer of Byculla women jail.
Gaikwad appealed to the staff for a better future and asked to stay polite with the inmates. "Inmates too are human beings and we should treat them in a good manner. The court will decide about the punishment. Our job is to look after them and reform them. If we are polite with them and listen to them, they would respect us and listen to us, as they too have heart," he added.
Explaining the reforming of inmates inside Maharashtra prison Gaikwad explains, "When I joined in 1991 it was a period of gang war. The jails were a complete mess. To avoid any gang war, D-company was kept in Byculla jail, Arun Gawli gang in Yerwada and Ram Naik gang in Arthur road jail.
But things in the last two decades things changed, now inmates are reformed inside by giving them jobs in bakery, manufacturing unit, radio club among others," added Gaikwad who also opened up gymnasiums for inmates at Byculla, Taloja and Arthur road jail giving fitness as priority.