**Bhubaneswar:** Odisha Government has started the process to identify prisoners eligible to be released on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
In accordance with an advisory issued by the Centre, a three-member State Level Committee has been formed to examine cases of eligible prisoners for special remission and release on the scheduled dates.
Additional Chief Secretary of Home Department, Asit Kumar Tripathy, has been appointed as Chairman of the committee with Principal Secretary of Law Department, Sashikanta Mishra, as Member and ADG of Prisons, Binyanand Jha, as Member Secretary.
The Union Cabinet on July 18 had decided to release thousands of prisoners serving sentences for committing non-heinous crimes. The convicts will be released in three phases, first on October 2 this year during the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, second on April 10, 2019 to commemorate the anniversary of Champaran Satyagraha movement and third time again on October 2, 2019 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
As per the criteria set by the Centre, the eligible prisoners to be released will mostly include women, elderly, transgender and physically challenged inmates. Women and transgender inmates who are above 55 years of age and have completed half of the period of their sentence will be released. However, for male prisoners, the age limit is 60 years.
Likewise, prisoners with 70% of physical disability, who have completed half of the period of their punishment and convicts suffering from non-curable diseases will also be covered under this amnesty scheme.
However, inmates serving sentences for heinous crimes like dowry death, rape and human trafficking along with death row convicts and also those prisoners whose death sentence was commuted to life term will not be given any kind of relief.
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