Jail opened to public to pay homage to freedom fighter

Berhampur: The high-security Berhampur Circle Jail was opened to public to pay tribute to freedom fighter Laxman Nayak on his 116th birth anniversary.

The tribal freedom fighter, who was lodged in the jail during the freedom struggle, was hanged by the British rulers on March 29, 1943.

The jail authorities have preserved three cells, where the tribal leader was lodged. Besides a portrait of Nayak, his literary works and letters written by him during the jail term, are preserved in the cells.

The prison authorities allow visitors into the prison twice a year, March 29 (Nayak’s hanging day) and November 22 (birth anniversary), as a mark of respect to the freedom fighter, said Senior Superintendent of the jail, Raghunath Mahi.

The jail employees, before beginning their duty, offer floral tributes to Nayak’s photo and light an earthen lamp daily. The practice has been continuing for last several years, a jail officer said.

While paying tribute to Nayak yesterday, speakers at a meeting urged the government to take steps to highlight his contributions during the freedom struggle.

Subash Moharana, Chairman, Berhampur Development Authority said that the jail and an over-bridge, connecting Kamapalli to Lanjipalli, should be named after Nayak.

On the occasion, noted historian Bijay Kumar Mohanty shed light on Nayak’s role during freedom struggle.