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‘Covid safety protocols not followed in Assam jails’; rights panel seeks report from govt.

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By PTI Updated: Jul 21, 2020 9:42 pm
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Guwahati, July 21 (PTI): The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has ordered the chief secretary and inspector general of police (prisons) to submit a report on the alleged violation of Covid-19 safety guidelines for prisoners in the state.

The AHRCs order came after Leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, lodged a complaint in this regard.

In a letter to the Commission on July 14, the Congress leader had also alleged that the inmates of Guwahati Central Jail and other prisons are not getting proper healthcare services and diet.

Taking cognizance of the complaint, the AHRC on Monday directed the chief secretary and the IGP (Prison) to submit the report on or before August 5.

The Commission order stated that Saikia had drawn the attention of the AHRC to media reports claiming that Covid-19 safety measures are not being followed in Guwahati Central Jail and the authorities are not providing the inmates with proper diet and healthcare services.

A recent newspaper report said that “an inmate of Guwahati Central Jail while being taken to hospital with other prisoners in a bus threw a piece of paper” which claimed that Covid-19 tests had not been carried out on all inmates and 50 prisoners are kept in a single room, according to the order.

Besides, the gap between the sleeping spaces of inmates was less than two feet thereby violating social distancing norms and those tested positive for Covid-19 were made to wait for 40 hours and taken to hospital only after they protested by lightning a fire inside a room, it said quoting from Saikias complaint.

The paper thrown by the prisoner from the bus also claimed that around 95 per cent of the inmates of the Guwahati Central Jail are likely to be infected by the virus. The AHRC also mentioned that the Congress leader said he had written to the chief secretary, commissioner (home and political department) and the IGP (Prison) seeking an enquiry into the “alarming” condition in the Guwahati Central Jail but the state authorities allegedly did not take any action.

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By PTI Updated: Jul 21, 2020 9:42:39 pm