A majority of prisoners in Guwahati Central jail are COVID-19 positive, says letter; Inspector General of Prisons Dasarath Das, however, refutes claim
Guwahati: An explosive letter allegedly written by an inmate of Guwahati Central Jail in Assam has sent the state authorities into a tizzy. The letter alleged that about 95% of the inmates are COVID-19 positive and that there are no arrangements in place regarding the control of the deadly coronavirus inside the jail premises.
The "information" came to light when the NIA court granted bail to Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti (SMSS) leader Manash Konwar since his arrest on December 22 last year along with Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leaders Akhil Gogoi, Bitu Sonowal and Dhairjya Konwar.
On Monday, Manash's bail was accepted and his associates from KMSS went to pick him up from the Central Jail. However, the jail authorities were apprehensive of the release as many from the prison were already infected with the novel coronavirus.
When two buses came to pick up the COVID-19 positive inmates, one of them, who identified himself as Dudul Das, reportedly threw a letter out of the vehicle which brought to light the prevailing conditions inside the jail.
As per the letter written in Assamese, “More than 95% of the people inside the jail have been affected by coronavirus; however, not all of them have been tested yet."
"Even after we tested positive, nothing has been done regarding treatment or diet for the past 40 hours," the letter claimed, adding: "Both positive and negative patients are staying together. Two people are sleeping in a 2 ft space. More than 50 inmates have been made to sleep in a single room."
The jail authorities are trying to hide all these facts, the letter alleged.
Meanwhile, EastMojo reached out to Dasarath Das,the Inspector General of Prisons in Assam, to know the truth.
Das said that antigen tests are going on and 51 COVID-19 cases were detected on Sunday. However, they have already been transferred, he said. “As for the claim of positive and negative patients being kept in the same room, this is false as we have kept them in isolation wards,” he added.
Das also said that there is already a security issue in regards to the transfer of jail inmates; hence there might have been some kind of misunderstanding.
“We are following all the SOPs given by the Central and the state governments with regards to handling COVID-19 positive inmates by conducting constant screening. Additionally, we have been transferring positive inmates to isolation wards as well, and the wearing of masks has also been made mandatory,” Das added.