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For everyone who is inquisitive about how it feels to be inside a prison, the Haldwani administration in Uttarakhand has launched an initiative to offer a real jail feel at just Rs 500. The officials also stated that the initiative is also for visitors who want to remove a problematic astrological alignment from their horoscope and are asked by their astrologers to stay in jail for some time.

Constructed in 1903, the Haldwani’s former prison is currently being renovated to provide lodging for “tourists” seeking a true “jail experience. Its separate portion, comprising the old armoury with six staff quarters, has been abandoned for long and is being used to host jail guests.

The jail frequently received “orders” from senior officials to allow “recommended persons” to spend a few hours in the jail barracks. These “tourist inmates” are given prison uniforms and food made in the jail kitchen,” Satish Sukhija, the prison’s deputy jail superintendent said.

He added, “All such cases are mainly of people whose astrologers predict that a jail term is inevitable as per the planetary positions in their horoscope. We have an abandoned portion inside the prison that can be developed as a dummy jail to accommodate such ‘inmates’ for a night for a nominal fee of ₹ 500.”

A Haldwani-based astrologer, Mrityunjay Ojha said, “When three celestial bodies, including Saturn and Mars, are placed in an unfavourable position in one’s horoscope or birth chart, it becomes an equation that predicts the person may have to undergo imprisonment. In such a situation, we usually advise the subject to spend a night in jail and have their meals provided by inmates so as to bypass the bad effects of planetary positions.”

The official, Sukhija added, “I had moved a proposal regarding the matter earlier too, to the inspector-general of prisons. He not only appreciated it but even asked me to send him a detailed project report.


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