The Cellular jail, situated on top of the Atlanta Point close to the Aberdeen Bazaar, is the most famous historical structure of the present day Port Blair. The Structure as become an inspirable part of the freedom moment of the country. The tortures inflicted by the British on the mind and the bodies of the inmates of Cellular jail were so brutal and inhuman that in no time the place become in famous as the most notorious structure of the country. The Penal settlement of Andamans was initially started in Ross island. Gradually, more jails were constructed on other islands like Viper island to accommodate more convicts form mainland India and Burma. Though the initial convicts were deserters and mutineers involved in the Sepoy Mutiny, gradually the prisoners of other anti – British revolts were also transported to Andamans. The number of convicts in Port Blair gradually increased form two hundred in 1858 to about twelve thousand at the end of the nineteenth century.
          The British administrators from Calcutta used to visit Port Blair periodically to assess the health of the convicts and to inspect the state of the penal settlement. In 1890 Sir Charles James Loyal, Secretary to the Government of India, and Dr Alfred Swain Lethbridge, Inspector General of Prisons in Bengal, came to Andamans, This two – member committee, commonly known as Lyall Lethbridge Committee, suggested many effective changes for the penal settlement at Andamans. An observation made by them was that the convicts at least for the first six months, as was existing in Cannanore Jail in the south western coast of Indian. The government of India accepted the suggestion and granted permission to construct a jail in Port Blair on the lines of the Cannanore jail.

          Atlanta Point hilltop was considered as the most suitable place for the construction of a huge jail and work for the jail started following necessary approvals. Form a central tower seven wings of the jail extended in all directions like the spokes of a wheel. This massive structure with a unique design had six hundred and ninety six enclosures, each measuring 13.5 ft by 7.5 ft. as the building contained 696 enclosed cells for solitary confinement of convicts, the building spontaneously derived its name as ‘Cellular Jail’ . It is consider that the jail was constructed over a period of ten years from 1896 to 1906. About six hundred convicts were employed for ten years to construct the jail. Bricks were prepared form the broken corals at Dandus Point and Navy Bay Klin. Building materials were also brought from Burma. Freedom fighters involved in almost all the major anti – British activities during the early twentieth century were brought to the Celluar Jail from the mainland. Most of them were sentenced either to long – term imprisonment or to life imprisonment. That included the convicts of the Chittagong armoury case, Maniktala bomb Case, Nasik conspiracy Case, Lebong Race Course Case , etc. Convicts involved in Rumpa Revok of Godavari, Moplah Revolt of Malabar and Tharawady rebellions of Burma were all transported to the Cellular Jail of Andamans. Hardcore criminals sentenced with long impressionment for dacoity o murder and even life. Termers were sent in large numbers. At this time, as the number of female convicts was extremely low in Andamans, female convicts from all the jails of the mainland were given an option to be transported to Andamans. They were even permitted to choose their partners and settle down in andamans to establish a settlement. However, no lady political prisoner was ever deported to Andamans.
          Convicts awarded with life-terms and deported to Andamans had to undergo various degree of torure in different jails of Andamans. A general formula was followed and the convicts were transferred from one jail to the other on the basis of their conduct. They were kept in the solitary confinement of Cellular jail for the f first six months where they could not met any other inmate and had to work hard under strict discipline. The cellular Jail treatment was termed as “taming of the lions” by the notorious warden of the jail, David Barry. After six months of this rigorous torture the convicts were sent to other jails for eighteen months. Where they would perform laborious tasks under a little relaxed disciplinary routine. Whereas the ardent freedom fighters that dared to defy the British taming formula would continue in the Cellular Jail for longer periods. One such person was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who was kept in the Cellular jail for no less than a decade. He was considered as the most dangerous inmate of the jail and was sentenced for a total of fifty years for his various anti-British activities.

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