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Taking a cue from its counterparts in other States on going online for different purposes during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Telangana Prisons and Correctional Services has introduced virtual ‘mulaqats,’ enabling prisoners to meet their family members through virtual platforms like Skype.

Realising that the situation could be tricky during the pandemic if family members of prisoners were allowed on the prison premises to meet them, the department has stopped physical ‘mulaqats’. Instead, the prisoners are now being allowed to make Skype calls with their dear ones. This is in addition to allowing them to make telephone calls on registered mobile phone numbers, which is allowed four times a week each with a duration of five minutes from the landline in the prison.

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As for the Skype calls, officials have asked prisoners’ family members to log on to the National Prisons Portal and enter their details along with the prisoner’s name before making a video call. Once they submit all necessary details, they will get a One Time Password on the mobile number registered. The OTP will have the Skype meeting link, officials said, adding that those using smartphones have to download the Jitsi Meet app.

Officials said the main reason for arranging ‘mulaqats’ online was to contain the spread of Covid-19 as some prisoners had already tested positive and underwent treatment at the prisoners’ ward in Gandhi Hospital. A few jail staff had also tested positive for Covid-19.

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Warangal Central Prison Superintendent N Murali Babu said the online ‘mulaqat’ facility was provided to 20 prisoners every day. The facility was extended to both undertrial prisoners and convicts. A strict vigil will be maintained on the prisoners when they interact with their family members, officials added. #KhabarLive #hydnews

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